first_img Published on October 12, 2017 at 8:06 pm Contact Tomer: [email protected] | @tomer_langer Syracuse (3-3, 1-1 Atlantic Coast) faces its toughest opponent this season when it matches up with defending national champion No. 2 Clemson (6-0, 4-0) Friday at 7 p.m.  in the Carrier Dome. The Orange is coming off a 27-24 win over Pittsburgh that snapped a two-game losing streak. The Tigers beat Wake Forest, 28-14, last Saturday.Here’s what you need to know about Clemson.All-time series: Clemson leads, 4-1Last time they played: Syracuse rolled into Death Valley in early November a year ago, and it was no contest from the start. Starting quarterback Eric Dungey left the game with an injury early in the first quarter. Third-string Austin Wilson came in to play the play most of the rest of the game as the Orange got shut out in a 54-0 loss. SU had more punting yards (308) than total offense yards (277). The Tigers then-starting quarterback and Heisman finalist Deshaun Watson played only one half of the game, throwing for 169 yards and two touchdowns and running for another 39 yards and a score.The Clemson report: The Tigers look every bit like the defending national champions despite losing key pieces from last year, like Watson and top wide receiver Mike Williams. On offense, quarterback Kelly Bryant has stepped up and filled in Watson’s role. Bryant has thrown for 1,259 yards and four touchdowns and leads CU in rushing with 401 yards and an additional seven scores on the ground.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textThe strength of the offense is the ground game, which ranks 20th in the country with 237 yards per game. Running backs Travis Etienne and Tavien Feaster have combined for 710 yards on 105 carries. The Tigers have five players with more than 100 yards on the ground this season.The strength of the team lies in its defense, though. Clemson ranks eighth nationally with just 263.4 yards allowed per game, and fifth with 11.3 points allowed per game. The strength of the unit is the disruptive defensive line. That group is led by Austin Bryant, who’s racked up five sacks.To backup that strong D-line is a ball hawking and playmaking secondary. The Tigers have five interceptions on the year and two of them, both by Dorian O’Daniel, have been returned for scores.How Syracuse beats Clemson: A lot is going to need to happen right for SU. Firstly, the Orange is going to need to buck its recent trends of slow first halves on offense. Clemson won’t allow the offense to come back in the second half like its previous opponents and playing well for a full game, not just a half, is crucial for Syracuse. The offensive line will need to play the game of its life against Clemson’s front to buy Dungey some time. SU’s defense will also have to maintain its high level of play and make sure to stop the run on early downs, forcing Bryant to throw for longer third downs.Player to watch: Kelly Bryant, quarterback, No. 2Bryant is the engine to Clemson’s offense and arguably the best quarterback the Orange has played against this season (North Carolina State’s Ryan Finley comes close but SU managed to limit his numbers). It’ll be a slugfest for the Orange offense to try and get points, which means the defense will need to keep Bryant in check for most of the night. It’ll be interesting to see how much, if at all, the ankle injury limits Bryant’s running ability. Comments Facebook Twitter Google+last_img

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