The long-awaited matchup between Clemson and Syracuse is finally here. With pretty close records midway through the season (Clemson 3-2 and Syracuse 3-3), it’s about time to see who’s going to take the win Friday.
If you’re pent up with as much excitement as we are, keep reading to see our player predictions for who could make an impact in Friday night’s game.
Mikel Jones #3 Linebacker
Babers calls Jones “the QB on defense,” so by nature he’ll play a key role Friday. With 53 total tackles this season, he’s creeping up on his last season’s number of 69. The Clemson offense has had their fair share of struggles this season, only being able to muster up 14.2 points per game (125th in the nation). Facing an off-beat offense, Mikel Jones may be in for another big game.
Sean Tucker #34 Running Back
Tucker had his fourth consecutive game with more than 100 rushing yards last week against Wake Forest with three touchdowns, gaining 153 yards. In order for the Orange to grind out an upset, they’ll need Tucker to break through a Clemson defense who’s been highly regarded as one of the top in the nation the past couple seasons.
Cody Roscoe #18 Defensive Lineman
Roscoe’s presence on the defensive line was apparent last week against Wake Forest, as the senior had nearly 2 sacks, and disrupted the Demon Deacons all game long. Currently tied for 6th in the nation in sacks, Roscoe will look to continue his streak against a Clemson team who’s struggled all season in the passing game (176.8 passing yards per game).
Kobe Pace #20 Running Back
Pace had a 59-yard touchdown run against Boston College in their last game, making it the longest play for Clemson this season. As Pace tries to assert himself atop the running back depth chart, every opportunity on the field is crucial. Facing an Orange defense who allows less than 120 yards per game will be a big test for the Sophomore back, as the Tigers feverishly look to fill the void of Clemson-great Travis Eitienne.
D.J. Uiagalelei #5 Quarterback
Just this season, Uiagalelei has 793 yards, 3 touchdowns and 3 interceptions. He’s underrated as Trevor Lawrence’s successor, and there’s been immense pressure for him to measure up. Uiagalelei has struggled to find a rhythm all season, only completing 54% of his passes (111th in the nation). He’ll have a tough task facing a Syracuse secondary who only seems to gain more confidence as the season progresses.
Justyn Ross #8 Wide Receiver
Ross has had an interesting season so far. From an injury to striking first in overtime against NC State with a touchdown, Ross has fire in his plays. Missing all of 2020, Ross is catching up in stats with 23 receptions, 231 yards and three touchdowns. The 2019 All-ACC honorable mention receiver is one of the best deep threats in the country. As the Clemson offense finds their footing with the season progressing, the Orange secondary might have their hands full on Friday night.