Top Talent: OT Sean Hickey – Hickey had one of the toughest assignments of his career in facing perhaps the nation’s best defensive end in Vic Beasley. He largely controlled Beasley and won that battle, limiting Beasley to only three tackles on the night. Hickey was fantastic, using his feet well to keep the speed Beasley in front of him. He used his arms well to keep Beasley at bay. This performance certainly will help his draft stock.
Middle Man: RB Prince-Tyson Gulley – Gulley was solid, leading Syracuse with 80-yards and averaging over four yards per carry. But he lost his first fumble of the season. It could be argued that he did not get enough touches, and that he went north-south too much, but Gulley was solid against a talented front seven.
Bottom Feeder: QB A.J. Long – For the first time in his early career, Long looked like a freshman. He missed a couple open receivers, threw two bad interceptions and looked lost at times against Clemson. The future is still bright for Long, but this is a performance he will forget.
Top Talent: CB Brandon Reddish – Reddish was great in coverage all night. He picked off a pass in the first half and nearly had another in the second. In addition, Reddish tackled well on bubble screens and has established himself as one of the Orange’s top open field tacklers. He is rounding into form and continues to improve as a cover corner.
Middle Man: LB Cameron Lynch – Lynch led Syracuse in tackles once again and even had two for loss. Lynch was part of a defensive unit that flew all over the field and really took it to a struggling Clemson offense.
Bottom Feeder: N/A – The Syracuse defense put together yet another strong performance. It’s hard to find much fault with their performance, other than a slightly inconsistent pass rush without blitzing. But again, this unit put together it’s best outing of the season and it is unfair to relegate one as a bottom feeder.
Top Talent: P Riley Dixon – Dixon continues to showcase his elite leg. He averaged over 45-yards per punt on nine attempts including landing three inside the 20. Dixon continues to be a big weapon in the field position battle.
Middle Man: K Cole Murphy – Murphy was 2-3 on the night in a hostile environment. He drilled a 50-yarder to give Syracuse a lead at halftime and seemingly all of the momentum. He missed one in the fourth, however, which would have brought Syracuse to within one score. Still, Murphy has solidified the kicking game for the Orange.
Bottom Feeder: PR Ritchy Desir - Desir is solid as a returner and technically did nothing wrong. But the consistent fair catches without a threat of a big return do not help Syracuse flip field position and often pin the Orange offense deep in its own territory.