0 Comments Published on 10.31.2014 by Brian Harrison
People let me tell you 'bout my beeeeeeeest friend!
It was close. The Syracuse defense played probably as good of a game as they possibly could have. But the Syracuse offense was no match for the Clemson defense. They also had a stellar game. Syracuse needed more talent. They didn't have it. Clemson won. It wasn't a surprise. But if you're Syracuse or a fan you have to like the effort. Clemson pulled away 16 to 6.
Syracuse only managed 10 first downs and converted 3-16 on third downs. On top of that, they only earned 170 total yards. AJ Long (12/27, 82yds, 0 TD, 2 INT) didn't have the best day, and was constantly harassed by the superior defensive line of Clemson. Long never really got going and looked shaky all day. At least one of his two interceptions should have never been thrown and it was basically right to a defender. Granted, Syracuse's offense was far outmatched by Clemson, but they still had a sub-per day even for playing a team with more talent.
Simply put, the defense kept Syracuse in this game for as long as they did, and even gave them a halftime lead. They held Clemson to only three points in the first half. They forced four Clemson turnovers. Clemson made some halftime adjustments and we knew the Syracuse secondary couldn't hold up the entire game. But a valiant performance on the road in Death Valley.
The day was perfectly summed up by K Cole Murphy's performance. He drilled a 50 yard field goal before the end of the first half, but missed a 42 yarder later in the game. He was 2/3 on the day and had Syracuse's only points on the day. Otherwise, kick and punt coverage was pretty great and Syracuse didn't hurt themselves on special teams other than the missed FG.
A far better performance than I expected, but Syracuse still tried to throw too many bubble screens. Syracuse simply can't block as well against top flight teams, nor will the speedy teams allow Syracuse to get the edge on quick passes. The penalties continue to be disconcerting as well. You'd think by now, more than halfway into the season, we'd correct some of that.
Syracuse gave us hope for far too long in this game that an upset was possible. It never really was with the way the offense played, but the defense did so well that it kept the door open. I can't say I'm disappointed as the expected result still happened, but Syracuse needs to find a way to stay in big games like this in the next few seasons. For now, it was a good enough performance against a superior team.
Syracuse gets a slight break with NC State as their next opponent. The defense did well, but now we need to see the offense come alive again, like it did against Wake Forest. For now, this Clemson game was entertaining as it wasn't a blow out, and it was fun to see the Clemson fans sweat one out. But seriously, stop booing injuries. You classless hillbillies.