Scott Shafer

AJ Long said this will be one of the most fun games he’ll ever play in his career. When he meets the Clemson defense, he may feel otherwise.

Syracuse (3-4, 1-2 ACC) travels to South Carolina on Saturday to face the No. 21 Clemson Tigers, which allows the fifth fewest yards per game in the FBS.  Last week, Long ended Syracuse’s four game losing streak with a 30-7 win at Wake Forest.  But he realizes he’ll have a harder challenge in his second career start.

First, defensive tackle John Raymon beat the odds by recovering from a severe knee injury faster than anyone expected.

On Saturday, he helped the Orange (3-4) beat the Demon Deacons by assisting on Syracuse’s second defensive touchdown of the day.

"I’m very excited," Raymon said this week on returning to football.  "My team’s excited, my coaches are excited and I feel like we’re all in a good place and we’re all on the same page now. I’m happy I’m back."

Even as the off-the-field allegations continue to surface, it was just another day at the office for Jameis Winston. 

The reigning Heisman Trophy winner completed 30-of-36 passes for three touchdowns.  His calm and confident play led No. 1 Florida State in a 38-20 win over Syracuse at the Carrier Dome.  The defending champion Seminoles (6-0) are halfway to another undefeated season.   

“To beat the No. 1 team in the country is a very difficult task,” Scott Shafer said.  “I really believed this week that we could beat this team, but we didn’t get that done today.”

It hasn’t been another season of blowouts for Florida State, but they’ve done enough to do what many of the highest ranked teams haven’t – win.  The reigning national champions comes to the Carrier Dome to face a Syracuse team that has lost its last three games. The Seminoles, meanwhile, haven’t lost since the 2012 season.

“There’s a reason why they’ve won 21 in a row: great coaching and great players,” Scott Shafer said.  “We have a daunting task in front of us, but we're looking forward to it.”

George McDonald said he was "blindsided" on Saturday when Scott Shafer told him that he'd been demoted from offensive coordinator to wide receivers coach.

"If I would’ve known I would only get 18 games to be offensive coordinator, I would have stayed at the University of Arkansas," McDonald said.  "I would have never came here."

Terrel Hunt held his arms up in disbelief.  His last-ditch spike attempt at the end of the first half left no time on the clock to run a play from the Louisville 2-yard line. 

It left the struggling quarterback with a frustrated feeling. 

And once again, it left the Orange (2-3, 0-1 ACC) without any points in the red zone.  

“It wasn’t good enough,” Scott Shafer said on his team’s performance. “It wasn’t good enough to get it done. So we have to go back to work and try to get it better. It’s so simple it’s hard to comprehend, but it the God’s honest truth.”

Syracuse returns home for its ACC opener, hoping to avenge a disappointing loss last week in MetLife. The Louisville Cardinals, meanwhile, return to get revenge against the team that spoiled their undefeated season back in 2012.

A pair of former Big East teams will match up on Friday night when Syracuse (2-2) hosts Louisville (4-1) in the Carrier Dome. 

“It’s always great to play Louisville,” safety Durell Eskridge said.  “I’m happy they’re in the ACC. They were one of our top opponents in the Big East.”

It only took back-to-back completions for Everett Golson to change the course of the game and show that he belongs in pro stadiums.

Golson’s two second quarter touchdown passes to William Fuller stifled a Syracuse defense that had shut him out up to that point in the game.  His precise passing attack propelled No. 8 Notre Dame (4-0) to a 31-15 win over the Orange (2-2) in MetLife Stadium and allowed the Irish to withstand a five turnover performance.  It’s the first time the Irish have started the season by scoring at least 30 points in all four games since 1943.

Notre Dame’s perfect red zone play this season explains why the Irish have started the season 3-0.  Syracuse’s struggles in that department explain why the Orange has not.

SU was hoping for an undefeated matchup at MetLife on Saturday night, but a series of miscues and mistakes cost Syracuse in its 34-20 loss last week.  Instead, the Orange gets a chance at redemption when it takes on No. 8 Notre Dame at 8 p.m.

A national audience will be watching when Syracuse takes on Notre Dame on Saturday night at MetLife Stadium. And Dontae Strickland, the highest rated player in Syracuse’s incoming freshman class, will be watching as well. 

Syracuse’s journey to New Jersey won’t only be a business trip, but a recruiting one, too.  Strickland, a South Brunswick, N.J. native, will be at the game along with several other players Syracuse is targeting.