Day & Time: Saturday, October 24, noon ET
Location: Clemson Memorial Stadium, Clemson, S.C.
Line: Syracuse is a 46.5 underdog. That about sums it up.
TV/Streaming: ACC Network, WatchESPN
Clemson Blog: Shakin the Southland
Rivalry: 6-2, Clemson
Current Streak: 2, Clemson
First Meeting: Who wants to feel old? These two teams first met in the year I was born - 1996. Syracuse and Clemson met on New Year’s day that year in the Gator Bowl at Jacksonville Municipal Stadium, the home of the Jacksonville Jaguars. Now known as TIAA Bank Field, the two programs played the first ever bowl game at the venue and Syracuse cruised to a 41-0 win. Donovan McNabb threw for 309 yards that day, 173 of which went to Marvin Harrison.
Last Meeting: Tommy DeVito was sacked eight times in the first game at the Carrier Dome for the 2019 season. On the opposite side of the ball, Trevor Lawrence threw for 395 yards and three touchdowns despite getting picked by Trill Williams and Christopher Frederick. All that adds up to a 41-6 loss for Syracuse in the 2019 home opener.
Head Coaches: Syracuse - Dino Babers (fifth year, 24-30) | Clemson - Dabo Swinney (13th year, 135-31)
Coach Bio: Swinney attended his native Alabama and joined the Crimson Tide as a walk-on wide receiver in 1989. He later received a scholarship for his final three seasons in Tuscaloosa and caught seven career passes for 81 yards. After his undergrad career finished, he joined the Crimson Tide coaching staff as a graduate assistant before coaching the wide receivers and tight ends at various points from 1993 to 2000. Swinney moved to Clemson in 2001 to coach the wide receivers before being named interim head coach midway through the 2008 season.
Since his promotion to the head coaching role, Swinney has only had one losing season in 2010. He’s led Clemson to bowl appearances in every season as a head coach, including College Football Playoff appearances in the past five seasons. Swinney has led the Tigers to four National Championship games in that span as well, winning two of those games. All of Swinney’s recruiting classes as Clemson’s head coach have one at least one ACC conference title.
Last Year: Clemson steamrolled through the regular season in 2019, going undefeated with the only troublesome game coming at North Carolina, which the Tigers escaped with a 21-20 victory. Clemson earned the three seed in the College Football Playoff and played Ohio State in the Fiesta Bowl, winning 29-23. Unfortunately, Clemson lost the battle of the Tigers in the National Championship game as they ran into the brick wall that was Joe Burrow and LSU’s 2019 team.
Last Game: You’d think that there wouldn’t be more records to set for Clemson under Swinney. The Tigers did just that in their last game, scoring a program-record 52 points in the first half en route to a 73-7 win. Lawrence continued to prove why he should be the number one pick in the 2021 NFL draft, throwing for 404 yards and five touchdowns.
“Fear Me, I’ve Killed Hundreds of Timelords”: The Timelords of Gallifrey shudder when they hear tales of Trevor Lawrence and Travis Etienne playing against the 2020 Syracuse defense. Lawrence ranks fourth all-time in Clemson history for career passing yards (8,489) and third-all time in Clemson history for career passing touchdowns (81). Etienne ranks second all-time in ACC history for career rushing yards (4,474) and first all-time in ACC history for career rushing touchdowns (61).
If Syracuse Wins: By the transitive property, we are immediately better than every team in the ACC and deserve the No. 1 seed in the College Football Playoff.
If Syracuse Loses: As long as no one gets injured (knock on wood), we try to not overreact to losing to the top team in the country.
Fun Fact: Clemson hasn’t lost a game in ACC play since 2017. The last conference loss for the Tigers was a 27-24 defeat to the Orange in the Carrier Dome. Clemson still made the College Football Playoff that season while Syracuse lost every game after the victory over the Tigers that season.