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Clemson Tops Syracuse in Carrier Dome Slug Fest

The Tigers win a defensive battle as the Orange drops its third straight.

A turnover in the red zone and a Clemson converted fake punt haunted Syracuse as the Tigers escaped the Carrier Dome with a 17-14 win over the Orange. Syracuse’s drive in the final minutes stalled at it’s own 30, and Andre Szmyt’s 47-yard field goal was short. With the loss, Syracuse falls to 3-4 (0-3) on the season. Clemson improves to 4-2 (3-1). Next up for Syracuse is a road matchup with Virginia Tech on Saturday, October 23rd. That game kicks off at 12:30 p.m.

Syracuse trailed 14-7 at halftime after squandering a red zone opportunity late in the first quarter. With the game scoreless, Sean Tucker broke off a 54 yard run to put Syracuse in a first and 10 at the Clemson 19. On the next play, Garrett Shrader forced a throw that was intercepted. The Tigers would take the next drive and turn it into a touchdown to take a 7-0 lead. 

The Orange would answer with a 90 yard touchdown drive to tie the game on the next possession, capped by a two yard Shrader run. Two possessions later, Clemson looked to be stopped near midfield with the clock winding down in the first half. A fake punt worked for the Tigers despite Syracuse leaving its defense on the field. Punter Will Spiers connected with Davis Allen on an underthrown but high pass that Allen snatched out of the air for the first down. Clemson would score on a Kobe Pace run. 

Clemson managed only three points in the second half, which gave the Syracuse offense enough opportunities to pull off the upset. Shrader connected with Trebor Pena on a 62-yard score to trim the lead to 17-14. After the Orange defense got a stop, Syracuse had a chance to tie or win. Shrader led a drive that marched to the Clemson 30 yard line, but stalled there as a Tucker run on third and two gained only one. 

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Andre Szmyt came on for a game tying field goal, but it was short and wide left. 

Syracuse racked up 356 yards against the nation's second ranked defense, including 165 on the ground led by Tucker's 157. Shrader finished 17-37 for 191 yards, one touchdown and one interception. Shrader was erratic with his throws throughout, but was also not helped by several drops from the Orange receivers. Mikel Jones led a strong defensive effort with 11 tackles.