Clemson made sure Syracuse never had control of the game. After three plays and just 38 seconds, the #3-ranked Tigers led Syracuse 7-0 and Heisman candidate Tajh Boyd was 3-3 with 82 yards and a touchdown.
“When they scored fast, we were like ‘Whoa.’,” said Syracuse cornerback Julian Whigham. “They’re as good as we thought they were.”
Clemson (5-0, 3-0 ACC) continued to dominate Syracuse (2-3, 0-1 ACC) and won 49-14. Boyd threw touchdown passes of 60, 42, and 91 yards to pace the Tigers past the Orange.
Syracuse’s offense couldn’t match Clemson’s production in the first half. The numbers were staggering.
Boyd had 317 passing yards and four touchdowns with 7:37 left in the second quarter. SU quarterback Terrel Hunt had just 25 passing yards at the same point. Clemson went into the half with a 35-7 lead.
“You can’t give them plays and we did,” said SU head coach Scott Shafer. “We have to do a better job.”
What looked like a laugher for the Tigers in the first half became a contest again in the third quarter. Syracuse led off the half with a scoring drive finished by a Prince-Tyson Gulley 18-yard touchdown run. The Orange forced a turnover and kept Clemson off the board for the majority of the quarter.
“(I said at halftime) We’re going to go out there and fight our butts off,” said Shafer. “The crowd deserves it. They showed up today. We didn’t show up in the first half.”
“We tried to make it exciting. For a minute there, I thought we had a shot.”
But Syracuse’s offense couldn’t add any more points on the board. Clemson re-captured momentum with a 91-yard touchdown bomb from Boyd to Sammy Watkins. That made the score 42-14 in the Tigers favor and both teams mixed in backups for the rest of the game. Clemson running back C.J. Davidson added a late touchdown run to further bury the Orange.
Boyd finished 20-for-27 with 455 passing yards and five touchdowns, as well as his first two interceptions of the season. Ten different Clemson receivers finished with catches. Sammy Watkins led the Tigers with four catches for 126 yards and a touchdown. Adam Humphries caught three passes for 118 yards and two scores.
Hunt went 8-for-24 for 52 yards and three interceptions. Jerome Smith was the Orange’s biggest threat with 125 yards and a 66-yard touchdown run.
Syracuse plays on the road against North Carolina State next week. You can catch the game here on WAER, 88.3 FM, starting at 3:00 PM with Countdown to Kick-off. The Orange and Wolfpack are set to start at 3:30 PM.