Scouting Syracuse: how the Tigers win

Pick up the blitz, stop the run, weather the storm

Clemson's Martavis Bryant blocks North Carolina State's Juston Burris on a play during the third quarter at Carter Finley Stadium in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Photo by Ken Ruinard

Clemson's Martavis Bryant blocks North Carolina State's Juston Burris on a play during the third quarter at Carter Finley Stadium in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Scouting Syracuse: How The Tigers Win

1. Weather the storm: There's little doubt that the Carrier Dome will be rocking for Syracuse's ACC debut. Matched against the ACC's preseason favorites, the Orange will be well-prepared and hyped up to spring an upset. Dabo Swinney and his players are becoming increasingly comfortable with playing as a favorite, and it's not unlikely they'll need to hang in there for a while before getting things rolling their way. As Swinney said last week, another victory like the one Clemson scored in Raleigh will be just what the doctor ordered.

2. Run, and stop the run: Syracuse has produced a 1,000-yard rusher in each of the past five seasons, and the Orange returns a good one in Jerome Smith. If Syracuse can run the football, it will set up a passing game that hit its stride in lopsided wins over Wagner and Tulane. Likewise, Syracuse will build its defensive game plan on stopping Clemson's running game. The Orange rank fourth in the ACC in rushing defense, allowing just 109 yards per game and 3.1 yards per rush. It will be a battle of wills to control the line of scrimmage. If the Tigers can impose theirs, they'll be well on their way to another important ACC road victory.

3. Dominate special teams: The Tigers have a significant advantage in the field goal game, with Chandler Catanzaro practically money in the bank and Syracuse struggling to find a replacement for its injured starter. Bradley Pinion's part will come in keeping the ball out of the hands of Syracuse's capable return men. And the Tigers are way overdue for a couple of breakout returns of their own.

4. Pick up the blitz: Chad Morris says he expects to face more pass-rush pressure this week than in any game this season, and perhaps since he's been at Clemson. Syracuse will blitz from all position and any spot in the field. "They love to bring more than you've got," Morris said on Monday. "If they could blitz 12, they'd blitz 12."

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Comments » 6

TigerFan95 writes:

I’m sure Syracuse is going to be amped up for this game given our ranking & reputation as well as the fact that it’s their first game as a member of the ACC. This is exactly the type of game we need to come out and dominate in order to erase the whole “Clemsoning” reputation. No disrespect to Syracuse because I think they’re a good program and could upset us if we let the environment and situation get in to our heads, but I think we should beat them handily if we’re a legit national title contender. Again, no disrespect to Syracuse, but if we don’t win by three at least 17 points I’ll be disappointed.

lhaselden writes:

If we win I will not be disappointed... I do not care about style points on the road... any win on the road when you come home healthy is a good win!
Syracuse has shown that in the past that they can beat better teams in the Dome!

f8thwlk writes:

My feeling is that the Tigers win. Win on the road and you've done your job...

Bigboots writes:

5. Leave Giff Timothy in SC.

TigerNE writes:

If Cuse is really that notorius for the blitz, that could the biggest reason to worry about a struggle or (biting my lip) an upset. NSCU showed our weakness in giving Boyd time, especially from the corners. But it's not like that has been a strong point for our offense overall. If Morris has that fixed or improved somewhat, it should be a high scoring game for us.

clemvol writes:

Again, Every team the tigers play will bring all they have. The Tigers will and must bring more every play. If they blitz roll out away from pressure. If they play man to man Tiger receivers cannot be covered. If they play zone then find the opening and sit down for 5 to 8 yard gain every time. I expect the Tiger defense to bring their own pressure. Once more we need to put the pressure on our defensive backs and let front seven take care of business. Nothing less than total focus will do. Obsticle number five is in the way and the Tigers need to run slap over them. Bring it Tigers.

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