Home College Football Clemson Narrowly Escapes Syracuse At Death Valley

Clemson Narrowly Escapes Syracuse At Death Valley

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Courtesy Of The University Of Clemson Communications

Clemson, S.C. —It was a game of two halves, Syracuse came out firing in the first half but fizzled out in the second.

Backup quarterback Cade Klubnik led the fifth-ranked Tigers to two fourth-quarter touchdowns in a 27-21 win over No. 14 Syracuse (6-1, 3-1 ACC) on Saturday in front of a sold-out homecoming crowd at Memorial Stadium.

The Tigers (8-0, 6-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) rallied back from 14 points down in the first half for its 14th straight win overall, an ACC-record setting 38th straight home victory.

With the Win, Clemson took sole possession of the longest home winning streak in ACC history. Clemson was previously tied with the 1992-2001 Florida State Seminoles (37). Note: Miami’s FBS-record 58-game home winning streak from 1985-94 predated the Hurricanes’ ACC membership.

Clemson’s defense held the Orangemen scoreless —only 119 total yards in the second half while racking up four of the team’s sacks on the day. The defense helped the Tigers overcome four turnovers, and did not allow a defensive point on any ensuing possessions after the miscues.

The Tiger defense produced five total three-and-outs, five sacks and nine tackles for a loss. Jalyn Phillips led the Tigers with seven tackles, while Tyler Davis registered a career-high 2.0 sacks. Clemson held SU to 291 total yards, while Clemson’s offense amassed a total of 450 yards.

Will Shipley’s 50-yard touchdown burst with 11:26 to play gave the Tigers the lead for good, capping a 27-carry, 172-yard day for the talented running back. Fellow running back Phil Mafah had18 carries for 94 yards and a score.

“This is a special moment. A lot of adversity. Our team has showed that they can win a whole lot of different ways” said head Coach Dabo Swinney. “This is a great team win. Shout out to the Valley. This is a historic win and I’m so grateful for it.”

With the win, Clemson tied the 1919-27 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (38) for the 10th-longest home winning streak in FBS history. Those Irish teams under the leadership of College Football Hall of Famer Knute Rockne were a combined 78-7-3 at all venues in the seasons comprising that streak.

Clemson won despite a 4-1 deficit in the turnover margin. It was only Clemson’s third victory under Dabo Swinney when -3 or worse in the margin all-time, joining a 2011 win against Wake Forest and a 2012 win against Duke Blue Devils.

Klubnik came in the final 20 minutes and was cool as cucumber. He was throwing darts to his receivers in the second half.

“Just excited to get my moment,” Klubnik said. “It was awesome — such a great environment today.”

Klubnik sparked Clemson’s offense late in the third quarter, leading touchdowns on back-to-back drives and a two-point conversion. The Tigers ran a season-high 60 times for a season-high 293 yards.

The Tigers’ defense kept the Orange scoreless on the game’s opening possession and forced the Orange to turn the ball over on downs. On Clemson’s first offensive possession, Uiagalelei hit Davis Allen for 42 yards, moving Clemson to the SU 26 yard line. Shipley finished the seven-play drive and plunged across the goal line for Clemson’s first touchdown of the contest, putting Clemson up 7-0 with 7:45 to play in the first quarter.

The Orangemen jump started their offense on the next possession, tying the score at 7. The Tigers’ next drive was derailed by a Syracuse interception, but the defense held SU on the next possession. Clemson got the ball inside the five-yard line on its next possession, but Syracuse’s Ja’Had Carter recovered a DJ Uiagalelei fumble and returned it 90 yards for a score, giving Cuse a 14-7 lead with 9:14 left to go before the break.

Clemson then turned the ball over on downs at SU 32-yard line. The Orange capitalized as quarterback Garrett Shrader capped an eight-play 68-yard drive with a seven-yard score. B.T. Potter drilled a 44-yard field goal with seven seconds to play in the half to set the halftime lead at 21-10.

After the Tigers tallied two more turnovers in the third quarter — a fumble from Shipley and an interception thrown by Uiagalelei — Clemson’s defense forced the Orange to punt on consecutive drives.

With 4:44 left in the third quarter, Klubnik came in and led the Tigers 80 yards as Mafah sealed game with the 15-play drive with a one-yard power touchdown. Clemson’s two-point try was intercepted in the end zone, making the score 21-16 with 13:46 left in the game..

On the Tigers next drive, Shipley broke away into the open field and ran the ball 50 yards for the touchdown. Klubnik avoided a sack and found Joseph Ngata in the end zone who made a diving catch for the two point conversion..

Garrett Shrader passed for a touchdown and rushed for another. He finished 18 of 26 passing for 167 yards.

“This is the first time we’ve tasted defeat and I want the taste out of my mouth and be back on the right side of it,” Syracuse coach Dino Babers said.

Up Next:

Syracuse returns to the Dome to play Notre Dame on Saturday.

Clemson has the week off before heading to Notre Dame on Nov. 5.