This was the most hyped game of the season that drew the biggest Carrier Dome crowd. Syracuse faced a top five team with a Heisman Trophy candidate at quarterback in their first ever ACC game.
But Clemson jumped on the Orange early and never looked back. Syracuse was simply outmatched by the speed and athleticism all over the field. Despite briefly getting back into the game early in the third quarter, they never really threatened the Tigers.
Offensive Player of the Game:
Jerome Smith ran for 125-yards, including a 66-yard touchdown run (the longest of his career). He was the lone bright spot for the Orange.
Defensive Player of the Game:
Jay Bromley again had a strong game with two sacks and three tackles for loss.
What We Learned:
Syracuse wasn't quite ready to compete with the top teams in the ACC. The Orange defense, while solid, could not match up with the athletes of elite teams. It was a reminder of how far the Orange still had to go.
Terrel Hunt was a weapon with his legs but struggled throwing the football. The ground attack was solid, but the Orange offense was too one dimensional for this type of matchup.
Impact on the Season:
While there was a lot of excitement leading up to the game, the impact on the season was quite small. Most counted this as a loss heading into the season, and it played out as expected.
The critical stretch was coming up if the Orange were to reach their goals of becoming bowl eligible.