Orange Fizz


Is Syracuse Ready to Win a Game Like This, Again?

Before Syracuse went on the road and took down Purdue comfortably, I sat in front of my computer and pondered the question, was Syracuse ready to win a road game against a Big Ten team? The answer, resoundingly, was yes, the Orange could go on the road, in primetime, and get the job done against a program that while yes is going through a transition right now, has been more successful than SU for several years. Now, the page turns to an even greater test: are the Orange ready to win a game against Clemson with the nation watching?

Since SU joined the ACC in 2013, it is 1-9 against Clemson, despite keeping four of the past five matchups within one score. In 2022 and 2018, the Orange squandered golden opportunities to take down the Tigers on the road, only for them to give up late leads and let Clemson celebrate wins on its home field. Then, in 2021, Dino Babers committed near-coach malpractice with his clock management, and Andre Szmyt embarrassingly missed a field goal to tie the game with under a minute left. 2017 is the only bright spot when SU took down No. 2 Clemson 27-24 in the Dome, and the 2023 Orange, undefeated, have the chance to do it again in front of their home fans. But, it will not be easy.

“They’re still a championship-caliber team,” Babers said earlier this week to “They were six or 12 inches from winning last week. They beat [Florida State] in every statistical category. They beat Duke statistically in every category. This is what they are. They are a championship, big-time, football team.”

The Seminoles only mustered 22 rushing yards in Death Valley against the Tigers last week, something Clemson will try to replicate against Garrett Shrader, LeQuint Allen, and SU’s explosive ground attack which has been very successful in its first year with plays being called by Jason Beck. Yet, Shrader knows the challenge he and his teammates are in for on Saturday.

“Whatever it takes to win you’ve got to, especially against opponents like this,” Shrader said earlier this week to “Just go out and play and everything will lie where it is. You lose the element of trying to play conservative. You have to just go out and play.”

He’s done just that, as the senior quarterback has rushed for over 300 yards and six touchdowns so far this season to go with 972 passing yards and six touchdowns while completing nearly 67% of his passes. Due to his success, there’s a chance he could even be on the NFL Draft radar now, and if he has a big performance against the Tigers, that buzz will only grow.

“I’ve reached out to a few scouts and I think he has put himself on the Day 3 radar,” Chris Trapasso, CBS Sports NFL Draft analyst said to “Before the season he was not on the radar. From what we’ve seen in terms of mobility, I think he’s gained a little bit of arm strength, and certainly his production, he’s trending the right way.

Babers and his quarterbacks, most notably Eric Dungey, have won a game like this before, but that was six years ago, and Saturday will assuredly come down to whether Shrader can make enough plays against a very talented Clemson defense. If Babers has learned from his past mistakes and disciplined his players to play smart and sound football against a team like the Tigers, then the Orange could have a shot, but if they’re ready, we’ll just have to wait and find out.

The Fizz is owned, edited and operated by Damon Amendolara. D.A. is an ’01 Syracuse graduate from the Newhouse School with a degree in Broadcast Journalism.


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