Well, we’ve seen this one before, huh?
In shades of 2018, the Syracuse Orange held a double-digit lead over the Clemson Tigers in Death Valley going into halftime. However, the second half saw the Orange come out flat, allowing the Tigers to seize control of the game and serve Syracuse its first loss of the season.
Here’s our three takeaways from what could’ve been a Syracuse victory:
No one to blame but yourself
Whether you agree with the penalties or not, they undeniably decided this game. Syracuse looked in prime position to swing the momentum back their way in the 3rd quarter but the flags on Elijah Fuentes-Cundiff and Marlowe Wax gave Clemson new life. The offensive drives in the 2nd half stalled out in part due to holding and false start penalties. Syracuse shot itself in the foot.
Can’t take the foot off the gas
Likewise, the offensive game plan in the second half looked lackluster and unimaginative. It didn’t help that the Clemson defensive line started to get into the game, but a lack of looks to Sean Tucker and a Tigers focus on Oronde Gadsden meant that Shrader was left with very little options. The offense that came out in the second half looked like nothing that took a two-touchdown lead against the Tigers in the first.
Defense did it’s job
You can’t deny the fact that the Mob showed up. You don’t just force four takeaways out of nowhere. The defense did everything it could to keep the Orange in this game. The short drives from the offense didn’t do anything to repay the Syracuse defense’s effort. They just ran out of energy after the offensive inefficiency and the penalties.