Clemson found itself in unfamiliar territory Saturday vs Syracuse. Trailing by nine, it was the largest halftime deficit the Tigers had faced since the 2012 game vs FSU. To make matters worse, they now knew any kind of comeback would have to come with Chase Brice at QB, a talented QB for sure, but a redshirt freshman QB who had seen very little game action. What little action he had seen was in mop up duty. He had a shaky start throwing the ball, but by the time it was over, he had given the Tiger faithful a memory they won’t soon forget.
There was not a lot of action in the third quarter. The two teams combined for 3 punts and 3 turnovers, with Clemson getting a couple of Greg Huegel FGs to cut into the Syracuse lead. With so little action, I am going to do this review a little differently. Instead of going play by play, I will summarize each possession.
Clemson Ball, Tiger 25 14:50
This offensive series got off to a promising start. The Tigers ran 6 consecutive running plays, moving the ball down to the Cuse 33. One of those plays was a 20 yd gain by Adam Choice. Excellent run blocking being shown by the OL here:
Then they get away from the run and start to go backwards. Jet sweep to Rogers goes for a yard, then Brice tries to set up a screen to Etienne that is well defended and the Tigers lose 3. Then on 3rd and 12, Cuse rushes only 3, Hyatt gets whipped, and Brice is sacked.
What started out promising, results in a punt.
Syracuse Ball, at Orange 14 10:45
After a 1 yd run on 1st down, Dungey would hit Jamal Custis for a 20 yard gain to the 35 yard line. Mullen is in coverage and as you can see, he just gets beat on this one.
The next play is a 2 yd gain on a WR screen and is the play Mullen was injured, as he got rolled up on. After consecutive incompletions on 2nd and 3rd down, Cuse gets off a 46 yard punt. One that Rogers does not have trouble bringing in.
Clemson Ball, Tiger 17 9:25
Feaster gets no gain on 1st down, then Brice hits TJ Chase on a quick out for 6. On 3rd & 4 Brice either overthrew this ball or Chase broke off his route to soon. Either way, the play results in an INT:
Syracuse Ball at Tiger 38 8:15
Tigers D steps up after the turnover and forces a 3 and out. Syracuse picks up a yard on a Dontae Strickland run on 1st down, then Dungey is tackled for a 5 yard loss on 2nd. Clelin Ferrell just blew this one up. It was doomed from the start. Big play as Cuse was right on the edge of FG range.
Dungey’s 3rd down pass is incomplete and nearly intercepted by Muse, forcing the Orange to punt.
Clemson Ball, Tiger 25 6:48
The Tigers would put together an 8 play 55 yard drive, getting a 43 yd Huegel FG to cap it off. Etienne would get the drive started with a 21 yard run.
After a 2 yd gain from Etienne and an incomplete pass, the Tigers faced a huge 3rd & 8 at the Tiger 43. Needing a huge play, Brice would turn to Mr Clutch, and he would not disappoint. Todd Blackledge even called it.
That gave the Tigers a 1st down at the Cuse 29. After getting only 4 more yards on the next 3 plays, Greg Huegel would hit from 43 yds.
Syracuse 16 Clemson 10 4:09
Syracuse Ball at Orange 25 4:09
After a 3 yd run from Jarveon Howard on 1st down, Dungey would be picked off by AJ Terrell. The sophomore’s 1st INT of his young career.
Clemson Ball at Cuse 25 4:00
The Tigers would pick up 5 yards on the first 2 plays after the pick and on 3rd & 5 Brice would throw a perfect ball to Rogers in the end zone that would fall incomplete. The DB did have a handful of jersey but at the same time Rogers was trying to keep him off with his right arm. No flag. Could have gone either way, but after watching some replays I think a no call was probably the right call, The Tigers settle for another Huegel FG, this one from 37 yds out.
Syracuse 16 Clemson 13 2:13
Syracuse Ball at Orange 25 2:00
Dungey would complete the 1st down pass to Nykeim Johnson for 12 yds. Two plays later Cuse faced a 3rd and 2 and the Clemson D stopped a Dungey run for a loss of 6 yds, forcing the punt. The Cuse punter gets off a 51 yd punt and after coming close to muffing punts twice already, Amari Rogers finally muffs one. Cuse recovers it at the Tiger 10.
End of 3rd Qtr