John Bolton Photography

#2 Clemson Dominates Syracuse 54-0 in Death Valley

#2 Clemson won its nation-leading 21st consecutive home game and 15th straight ACC game in dominant fashion, beating Syracuse 54-0 in Death Valley for the Tigers' second shutout of the season!

CLEMSON, S.C. - No. 2 Clemson scored double digits in all four quarters to shut out Syracuse 54-0 on Military Appreciation Day at Memorial Stadium on Saturday afternoon. The Tigers moved to 9-0 on the season and 6-0 in the ACC, while Syracuse fell to 4-5 overall and 2-3 in ACC play.
 
In the Tigers’ most complete game of the season, both the offense and defense made an impact. With a 10-0 lead, Clemson scored 20 second-quarter points behind 330 yards of offense to pull away.
 
Deshaun Watson did his part when he found Deon Cain for a 65-yard touchdown pass early in the second quarter, the longest play of the season for the Tigers. From there, Clemson shared the wealth, with five other Tigers finding the endzone over the course of the game.
 
Mike Williams had six catches for 106 yards and a score, while Cain had five receptions for a game-high 125 yards and two touchdowns in the game.
 
Freshman safety Tanner Muse closed out the scoring with a 64-yard interception return for a touchdown off a deflected pass in the fourth quarter.
 
The Tigers are back in action versus Pittsburgh at Memorial Stadium next Saturday at 3:30 p.m.

CLEMSON GAME NOTES

Clemson Team

• Clemson has won 23 consecutive regular-season games and 26 non-national championship games in a row.

• The Tigers have won 26 of their last 27 games, with the only loss coming against Alabama in the national championship last season.

• Clemson won its 15th consecutive game over an ACC team. That includes last year’s ACC Championship Game win over North Carolina. The Clemson record is 20 (1981-84).

• Today was Clemson’s 21st consecutive win in Memorial Stadium, already a school record. The record for consecutive games without a loss at home is 25 (1980-84) (23-0-2).

• Clemson is 9-0 for just the fourth time in school history. The other years Clemson started 9-0 or better were 1948 (11-0), 1981 (12-0) and 2015 (14-0).

• Clemson has won 44 games in a row over unranked teams (either poll) and 45 games in a row at home over unranked teams.

• The current senior class is 28-3 against ACC teams (including the ACC Championship Game last year). The school record for wins over ACC teams by a senior class is 29, set by the 2015 class that was 29-4 (including championship games). The group will have a chance to tie that mark next week against Pittsburgh.

• This senior class is 44-6. The 88.0-percent winning mark is the best in school history. The record for total wins is 46 (46-8) by the 2015 seniors.

• The current seniors are 25-1 at home. The Clemson class record for wins at home in a four-year period is 26. The 2014 and 2015 senior classes were 26-2, so this group has a chance to tie that mark next week against Pittsburgh.

• Clemson is 4-0 against Syracuse since the Orange joined the ACC. This is the first time Clemson has won its first four games against an ACC opponent since the Tigers won their first four games against Virginia between 1955-58. Clemson also won its first four games against Wake Forest between 1953-56. Clemson has played at least four games as a conference rival against every current ACC team with the exception of Pittsburgh, next week’s opponent.

• Clemson is 22-2 under head coach Dabo Swinney as a top-five team in the AP poll. The only losses were to No. 5 Florida State in 2013 and No. 2 Alabama in 2015. The Tigers are 36-5 as a top-five ranked team in history.

• The Tigers amassed 565 yards of total offense. Clemson is 90-1-1 (and 5-0 this season) when gaining at least 500 total yards.

• Clemson recorded its second shutout of the season and the fifth since Brent Venables became defensive coordinator in 2012.

• Clemson wasted little time in recording at least one sack for a 39th straight game. Carlos Watkins stuffed the Syracuse quarterback on the third play from scrimmage.

• Two quarterbacks (Deshaun Watson, Nick Schuessler) had at least 160 passing yards for the Tigers, a first in school history.

 

Clemson Individual

• Deshaun Watson improved to 27-2 as Clemson’s starting quarterback.

• Watson had touchdowns through the air and on the ground. It marked the 13th time in his career in which he scored at least one of each in a game.

• Watson has had at least one touchdown pass in 25 straight games, the longest active streak in the nation.

• Watson increased his career output to 9,742 yards of total offense. He needs just 22 yards to pass Charlie Whitehurst for second place in Clemson history.

• Deon Cain hauled in a 65-yard touchdown reception in the second quarter, Clemson’s longest play of the season.

• Cain put together his first 100-yard receiving effort, finishing with five catches for a game-high 125 yards. His previous high was 98 receiving yards against Louisville in 2016.

• Cain matched his career high with two touchdown receptions (2016 vs. Louisville, Boston College) and leads the Tigers with eight on the season.

• Mike Williams had a 14-yard receiving touchdown in the second quarter, his fifth of the season.

• Williams finished with 106 receiving yards, his seventh career 100-yard receiving effort. Clemson is 7-0 in those games.

• Artavis Scott had seven catches and has 207 in his career. He passed DeAndre Hopkins (2010-12) for third place in Clemson history for career receptions.

• Nick Schuessler had two passing touchdowns in relief of Watson in the second quarter, his first career multi-score game. Schuessler finished with 169 passing yards and two touchdowns.

• Wayne Gallman scored his 25th career rushing touchdown.

• Ryan Carter recorded his first career interception in the first quarter, returning it 17 yards to set up Clemson’s first touchdown.

• Cordrea Tankersley notched his first interception of the season and the sixth of his career in the second quarter.

• Tanner Muse recorded his first career interception and took it 64 yards for a touchdown. It was Clemson’s second “pick six” of the season (Mark Fields vs. Boston College).

• Muse was the first Tiger freshman to return an interception for a touchdown since Wayne Simmons at Florida State in 1989.

• Freshman offensive tackle Sean Pollard made his first career start in place of injured sophomore Jake Fruhmorgen.

CLEMSON HEAD COACH DABO SWINNEY QUOTES

Opening statement:

“Great job by our guys today. We spread the ball around to a lot of guys and Deon (Cain) had a career day. Our offensive line played great when we were down without (Jake) Fruhmorgen. (Sean) Pollard and (Tremayne) Anchrum stepped up and did a great job manning that right side today.”

 

On Nick Schuessler:

“When Deshaun (Watson) got banged up, we felt we had good control of the game and he was ready to come back in the second half, but (Nick) Schuessler did a great job stepping up today. “He set a great example for his teammates. It’s a hard to continue to have to prepare each and every week like you’re the starter. It’s a hard thing to do, but that’s what it’s all about. I’m so proud of Nick for going in there and making some great throws. We kept on clicking and it was an outstanding win.”

 

On Clemson’s special teams:

“Their punt return team was No. 1 in the nation coming in and we held them to nothing. We didn’t punt the ball a lot today, but when we did, we negated that by making a couple of kicks. It was a dominant performance all the way around.”

 

On creating turnovers:

“Ryan Carter got us going with his interception in the first quarter. The interception return by Tanner Muse was a thing of beauty. To get a shutout like this against a team that is capable of scoring and knows what they're doing offensively is amazing. Give a ton of credit to our coaches and players for their performances today. We want to set the tempo, and I think we did just that.”

 

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

SYRACUSE HEAD COACH DINO BABERS QUOTES

Opening Statement:

“Obviously, we played a fantastic football team in Clemson. My hat goes off to coach Dabo Swinney. Unbelievable team, offensively, defensively, kicking game. Definitely a team that’s worthy of its ranking and I wish them the best of luck on their goal to win a national championship.

 

On Eric Dungey’s status:

“The medical people haven’t given me the details. They just said he couldn’t come back into the game.”

 

On how things changed offensively after Dungey’s injury:

“I don’t think the mindset of the team changed, but I do think that any time you lose your starting quarterback on an offense that’s geared towards the pass, then that’s going to get dramatically changed. And until we build the depth and all that stuff up with our program, that’s going to happen. When you’re in a complicated passing offense, you don’t have time to sometimes give the twos the threes as many reps as they should get, but they will get a lot more based off of what happened with this injury now. But that’s pretty typical even in the NFL...you lose your starting quarterback early in the game it normally doesn’t work out well for you.”

 

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

CLEMSON PLAYER QUOTES - OFFENSE

NICK SCHUESSLER, QB

On being able to step in and play when his number was called:

“Yes, I always tell myself that I spend too much time standing on the sideline to go out there and play scared, so if I ever get the chance I am going to go out there and cut it loose. I think that is how I felt I played out there...I cut it loose. The coaches did a great job of getting us prepared. It helps when you get to go out there and throw to receivers like we have here.”

 

On getting to play in the first half with the starting wide receivers:

It was good to get on the same page with those receivers. We try to do a good job in practice, getting the timing down so Deshaun (Watson) is not always throwing to the ones. He throws to the twos a little and I throw with the ones a little bit to try and get in the rotation. It was good to get some live work with the guys and beneficial for me for the rest of the season.”

 

SEAN POLLARD, OT

On when he found out he would be getting the start this week:

“They told me about it Wednesday when I was taking first-team reps and to be ready.”

 

On how playing at Florida State prepared you for the moment:

“Our practice prepares us. They are one-game seasons for us. It is a new season for us. I listen to the coaches and that is what prepares us.”

 

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

CLEMSON PLAYER QUOTES - DEFENSE

TANNER MUSE, S

On his first touchdown:

It was an incredible feeling, especially when my teammates come down and celebrate with me. It was an amazing experience.”

 

On his big hit on special teams early in the game:

“On the first one, they trapped me, so I knew I had to bring it a little low for that one. It played out the same way. I got my pads behind me and I was fortunate enough to be there and make the play.”

 

BEN BOULWARE, LB

On the shutout:

“It’s awesome, just getting all those guys in to play. We bust our tail Monday all the way to Saturday morning. There’s so much preparation that goes into it, stuff that people don’t know about. We have a really good team. Syracuse has a lot of athletes and has a really difficult scheme. To get a shutout is a really difficult thing to do. I’m proud of our team.”
 

 


CUTigers.com Top Stories