CLEMSON FOOTBALL - Tigers look to avoid repeat of 2017 visit to Syracuse
The top-ranked Clemson Tigers (2-0, 1-0 ACC) take their show on the road for the first time this season.
The defending national champions head to Upstate New York to face Syracase (1-1, 0-0 ACC) Saturday night on ESPN.
Clemson enters the primetime matchup as 27-point favorites, coming off two completely different performances. The Tigers beat No. 11 Texas A&M by 14 points last Saturday, while the Orange lost 62-20 at Maryland.
But even after suffering a demoralizing loss that knocked the Orange out of the top 25 and cost them a shot of having ESPN’s College GameDay in town for the first time in school history, Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney believes the Tigers will get their best shot on homecoming.
“No,” he said. “I don’t have a doubt. They went 4-8 on the season when we lost up there (27-24 in 2017).” “That game got away from them yesterday. If a 4-8 team can beat us, a 1-1 team can. That game got off to a bad start for them.
“Maryland also is probably better than some people think. That has nothing to do with this game, though. This is a division game. They are going to be confident. They beat us there last time and almost beat us last year. They’ll want to get their season back on track.”
The Tigers lead the all-time series 6-2. For Swinney, the fact that the Orange have been successful, at least in their last two games, is a testament to the job that head coach Dino Babers has done.
“Syracuse, Dino has just done an unbelievable job,” Swinney said. “It’s a great place. It starts with him. I mean, he’s put a good staff together. They have a good philosophy in place. They’re well-coached. They recruit well. They develop well. You can tell that it’s a relationship-driven program. He does a great job in connecting with his players.”
While this incredibly young Tiger team—with 80 freshmen and sophomores—has experienced a great deal of success already this season, picking up wins against ACC foe Georgia Tech and against No. 11 Texas A&M, that success has been at the friendly confines of Death Valley.
Now it is time for the Tigers to show they can have the same success on the road, against a hostile “Homecoming” crowd.
“It has been two good home games,” Swinney said. “So now we are excited about heading out on the road and see if we can find a way to win in a really tough place next week.”