It was a regrettable tantrum moment for an utterly frustrated Syracuse head coach Scott Shafer, who was caught on camera directing a profanity-laced tirade at Dabo Swinney after the Tigers' coach elected to go for a touchdown, rather than setting for the field goal, while leading 35-7 late in the first half on Saturday.
"I'm an adult now and I need to constrain myself a little bit better," offered Shafer during his post-game press conference.
Boyd breaks own Clemson passing record
Swinney extended no apology for the play - a keeper by Tajh Boyd that was stuffed by the Orange, which took over on downs.
"Were we supposed to take a knee?" Swinney responded, when asked about the situation during his press conference. "I won't take it easy in the second quarter. We thought a touchdown would be a better deal right there."
More from Swinney's post-game comments:
On the Tigers' victory: “I’m really proud of our team. It was a great performance on the road and it’s always a tough place to play. Our guys really executed at a high level. I thought our defense really responded throughout the four quarters, really played outstanding. Another division win puts us right where we need to be on track 5-0.
"Offensively we took control of the game. What else can you say about our quarterback – he’s something special. We had two 100-yard receivers. Adam Humphries was tremendous. It was just a very good game overall.
"We had very few possessions that were miscommunications amongst the team. All in all we are 5-0 and appreciate the competition Syracuse presented us.”
On Tahj Boyd’s wrap on his hand: “He ended up getting hit in the hip which was what bothered him. We tried to hold him at certain plays, but he was ready to go at every play. In the second quarter we tried to give some other guys opportunities. Tahj is OK, though, he just bruised his thumb”
On the Tigers' playmakers: “Well, that’s what great players do. They make great plays, especially with teams like this that plays the way they play. They force the issue, there’s a ton of blitzing going on out there. In that case you have to win the match ups. We talked about this last night – if we can hat them up early we could make big plays early.
"I give Syracuse a lot of credit. I thought they fought hard. Those guys came back and competed their tails off. Again, it’s a complete game. When you complement offense, defense, and special teams, that’s when you win games.”
Spencer Shuey: “They definitely gained a little bit of momentum there in the third quarter coming out into the second half, but that’s the thing about this team. When your offense isn’t clicking like they were in the first half, the defense was able to step up and make some stops, so it was definitely a good team win...
"Coach Swinney always emphasizes coming out fast and putting it on them from the get go and try to do that through four quarters. For offense to be able to come out and score like they have, it definitely helps us as a defense and gives the whole team a lot of confidence."
Martavis Bryant (on playing with Tajh Boyd): “I thought he did a great job. No matter what they put in, it just plays out for him on Saturdays. We trust him, know that he’s going to put the ball there if we’re where we’re supposed to be.”
Syracuse coach Scott Shafer
On the crowd and SU’s performance against Clemson: “Ever since I got this job I really wanted to represent this university in a classy fashion and I wanted this town to be excited about the way we play. A team that fights, like they fight in this community, and we asked for the crowd to be the 12th man today and they were great. We had a huge showing today and I was so proud to run through that tunnel and see our fans, our community, our students out there representing us and wanting us to be what we want to be.
"To be honest with you I think the fans did a better job than we did. We owe them more and we’re going to give them more. I just want to make sure everyone understands that I am so happy and proud of this community. We need to do a better job. We played a hell of a football team with a great coaching staff and we just weren’t good enough today, we gave them too many plays.
“The thing is, football is an emotional sport, anybody who knows me knows I’m extremely emotional, sometimes over the top. I said few things out there today that I feel bad about, I really do. In the heat of the moment they were the same things I said on the basketball court or the football field when I was a kid playing, but I’m an adult now and I need to constrain myself a little bit better.
"We’re going to fight the good fight, just like we want our kids to and I thought the kids did come out and fight. I was proud of the way they were fighting. We tried to pull everything out to make it respectable but we came up short and I just want everyone to understand that we got beat by a doggone good football team today. There is a reason why they are top-3 in the country and we just have to re-focus and move forward to this NC State game.”
On SU’s 323 rushing yards: “I thought there were some good things, and I think there were too many negative plays, obviously, against a really good front four. Those are good looking kids over there. They did a nice job recruiting. I thought we sprung some good plays, I think Jerome (Smith) had the longest of his career and even toward the end with Devante (McFarlane]).
"I was pleased with those plays, but we have to get rid of some of those negative plays and do a good job improving on the things that were ugly. We will get right to work on that tonight and tomorrow and try to solidify some things, but there were some good things. You have to look at the positives, especially when you get beaten by a good football team.”
On improvements to be made: “It is one of those situations where you can’t give (the other team) plays, and we did. It was a situation where our kids have to do a better job seeing small targets under pressure. We talked about it all week but we didn’t do a good enough job, but that starts with me. I need to do a better job teaching, teaching the kids to see things with the speed of the game. These (Clemson) guys get up on you quick. Those are some talented kids in an excellent offensive scheme that Dabo has. Really what you have to do is look at the small targets and keep working on it, really do a better job of what I have been talking about all week.”
On coming out strong in the second half: “I was proud of them. They kept fighting. They got knocked down, kicked around a little bit and character is revealed when things are down. At halftime I said it’s opposite day. Every thought in your mind that you want to go, you’re not going. We’re going to go out there and fight our butts off. I told them the crowd deserves it, they showed up today and we didn’t show up in the first half. Let’s give them a reason to stick around. I was proud of the fact that they did that and we tried to pull everything we could pull out of the book to make it exciting and try and get back in this thing, and for a minute there I thought we had a shot.”
On Clemson QB Tajh Boyd and the offense:
“He's a very talented player. He makes plays with his feet as well as his arm. He’s perfect in that offense and they do a great job scheming it. They made a couple of nice wrinkle adjustments on how they made the power and they looped it back a different way than we were prepared for. They beat us on some plays, coaching-wise. Dabo is a heck of a coach, he’s an offensive coordinator.”