By the Numbers: Syracuse vs Clemson

Syracuse has arguably the biggest game on their schedule on Saturday when the third ranked Clemson Tigers come to town. CuseNation.com takes a statistical look at both teams entering the contest.

As Syracuse gets ready to host no. 3 Clemson on Saturday, SU's ACC opener, many people are wondering if the Orange stand a chance against the high-powered Clemson offense.

After a 56-7 victory over Wake Forest, Clemson comes in at 4-0. Syracuse, on the other hand, is 2-2 after recording two straight wins of their own, against Wagner and Tulane, scoring 50+ points in both games.

Through four games, Clemson ranks 22nd in the nation in Total Offense, averaging 491.8 YPG. Syracuse ranks 54th in the nation in Total Offense, averaging 423.5 YPG.

Clemson is 18th in the nation in Pass Offense, averaging 312.5 YPG, throwing 13 passing TDs. Syracuse ranks 41st in Pass Offense, averaging 263.8 YPG, throwing 9 passing TDs. The recent emergence of Terrel Hunt has helped Syracuse's offense become less predictable.

The one area that Syracuse has over Clemson is in Total Defense. Syracuse is 32nd in Total Defense, allowing 337.8 YPG, whereas Clemson is 38th in Total Defense, allowing 346.5 YPG. The Orange stats have been aided by their two most recent opponents.

The Syracuse defense is in for a much bigger test in the Tigers. Clemson has yet to throw an Interception this season, and is tied for first in the nation in turnovers lost, only giving up two turnovers through four games. This is something that has to change if Syracuse hopes to pull off the upset.

Turnovers will help Syracuse keep the crowd involved in the game as well as generate momentum for the Orange. Their defense is going to need to play well in order to slow down Tajh Boyd, Sammy Watkins and the Clemson's dynamic offense.

Syracuse is ranked 8th in the nation in red zone offense, scoring on 21 of 22 red zone attempts. Clemson is ranked 78th in red zone defense, allowing opponents to score 85.7% of the time. Syracuse is going to need to capitalize in the red zone, and not settle for field goals if they are going to match the points put up by Clemson.

Syracuse ranks 44th in the nation in third down percentage, recording a first down on 46% of their third down attempts. Clemson ranks 11th in third down defense, allowing first downs on 25.8% of third downs. This will be a critical area for the Orange on Saturday, as converting on third downs will not only help them generate points but also keep Clemson's potent offense off the field.

Clemson is the undisputed favorite to win, but Syracuse has had some recent success against ranked opponents. Two years ago, Syracuse pulled off an upset against Geno Smith and No. 11 West Virginia, winning 49-23. Then last season, SU upset Teddy Bridgewater and the No. 9 Louisville Cardinals 45-26.


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