Richard Shiro
November 05, 2016

CLEMSON, S.C. (AP) Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson's bruised shoulder should not keep him out of next weekend's game against Pittsburgh.

The Tigers, though, showed they had a capable backup to lead the way in senior Nick Schuessler.

Schuessler came in after Watson left with a bruised right shoulder and led Clemson to 31 points - more than Watson - in a 54-0 victory over Syracuse on Saturday.

Watson and Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said the Heisman Trophy contender could've returned in the second half, but with the Tigers ahead 30-0 at the break, there was no need.

Watson completed 13 of 16 passes for 169 yards, including a 65-yard touchdown to Deon Cain and a 14-yard TD to Mike Williams. Watson also had a 1-yard scoring run.

Schuessler connected on 11 of 17 passes for 177 yards and two touchdowns, the first time Clemson had two quarterbacks with 160 passing yards or more in the same game.

''When Deshaun (Watson) got banged up, we felt we had good control of the game and he was ready to come back in the second half,'' Swinney said. ''But Schuessler did a great job stepping up today. He set a great example for his teammates. It's a hard to continue to have to prepare each and every week like you're the starter. It's a hard thing to do, but that's what it's all about.''

Swinney said Schuessler showed once more why he'd be the guy in charge if Watson's hurt down the stretch. Receiver Deon Cain caught TD passes from each of them against Syracuse and is glad to have both quarterbacks on the team.

''It's about next man up,'' Cain said. ''Our standards don't ever change.''

Schuessler had thrown 33 passes his first three seasons as he sat behind senior Tajh Boyd in 2013, Watson and Cole Stoudt in 2014 and Watson last year. Schuessler has 29 throws this year and all three of his college TDs.

Schuessler long ago made peace with his role.

''I've spent too much time standing on the sidelines to go out there really scared,'' he said. ''I got an opportunity and I went out there and cut it loose. That's what I'm most proud of.''

Watson was injured after he picked up 13 yards on a run and was brought down by Davion Ellison and Rodney Williams. Watson threw an incomplete pass on the next play before coming out of the game. His shoulder was looked at by a trainer for a few moments before he was walked into the locker room.

Watson, with an ice pack on his right shoulder, said he didn't have pain or problems and will be ready to go next week against Pittsburgh.

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