Get ready for more close games

Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables believes there's going to be more down-to-the-wire games in college football.

The 21st-ranked Tigers have had their share the past two weeks.

Clemson has needed late stands to seal victories over Louisville and Boston College. Venables said those performances have boosted his players' beliefs that they can achieve success in any situation.

That was certainly evident against the Cardinals and Eagles.

Louisville drove to Clemson's 1 in the final seconds but failed to score in the Tigers 23-17 win. Clemson stopped Boston College's last drive at its 26 with four incompletions in a 17-13 victory.

The Tigers (5-2, 4-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) try for a fifth consecutive victory against Syracuse (3-4, 1-2) on Saturday night.

While Venables — along with Clemson fans — were biting their nails watching the end unfold the last two contests, the third year coordinator believes defenses will be forced into many more late, game-on-the-line situations as the sport evolves.

"Trust me, I love beating somebody by seven or eight touchdowns," Venables said.

He thinks such blowouts are fading in the Power Five conferences as all FBS schools push to improve.

"Everybody has good facilities and everybody is on TV," Venables said. "I think there are more good players on teams now more than ever."

Venables includes Syracuse in that mix. The Orangemen broke a four-game losing streak with a 30-7 victory at Wake Forest. Freshman quarterback AJ Long ran for a touchdown and threw for another in the Syracuse victory and will make his second career start at Death Valley.

"They are, by far, one of the best, if not the best, fronts in college football right now," Long said. "It's going to be a big challenge for us up front."

Clemson had five sacks and 14 tackles for losses in the win at Boston College. Top Stories