|Posted on October 15, 2021 at 10:45 PM|
Article by Dan Tortora
The Syracuse Orange, although not scoring on their opening drive versus the visiting Clemson Tigers, were able to take a nice chunk of change off the game clock, keeping possession for 6:39, giving Clemson their first possession of the contest at the 7:21 mark of the first quarter.
Syracuse second-year freshman running back Sean Tucker entered the match-up with 995 all-purpose yards from scrimmage (791 rushing, 204 receiving), needing a mere five yards to achieve 1,000 on the season. Tucker would gain that and more on his first carry, which was also the very first play of the game, a seven-yard gainer on the ground, giving him 1,002 yards from scrimmage in a total of six games and one play.
Senior defensive end Cody Roscoe, who came into this game with 6.5 sacks through six games this season, would take sophomore quarterback D.J. Uiagalelei to the ground to force a punt.
The very next defensive outing for the Orange would end the same way, this time with redshirt-junior defensive tackle Curtis Harper sacking Uiagalelei on third down, this a 3rd-&-1 attempt that resulted in a four-yard loss and a punt to follow.
Syracuse's third drive of the first quarter would open with a 54-yard gain by second-year freshman running back Sean Tucker, bringing the Orange from their own 27 all the way to the Tigers' 19-yard line, but a forced throw by transfer sophomore quarterback Garrett Shrader would be intercepted by sophomore linebacker/nickelback Tyler Venables at his own six-yard line to end the Orange drive.
With 15 minutes in the books, the scoreboard remained blank.
Clemson would take their third possession of the game from the end of the first quarter to the 9:01 mark of the second quarter for a span of seven minutes and two seconds, ending in a 19-yard pass from Uiagalelei to the end zone to junior wide receiver Joseph Ngata, who got one foot down before falling out-of-bounds, giving the Tigers the first score of the game, making it 7-0 with about nine minutes left in the first half.
The Orange would respond, however, with their first score of the game when Shrader went into the Tigers' end zone untouched on a two-yard keeper, tying the game at 7-7 with 5:33 to go before halftime. Tucker would get Syracuse from the Clemson 41 to their two-yard line on the play before thanks to a 39-yard rush.
That 39-yard run gave Tucker over 100 yards rushing now for the sixth time in seven total games this season, moving him to 126 yards on nine carries (14 yards per carry), with more than five minutes to go before halftime.
On 4th-&-5 during the Tigers' next possession, graduate punter Will Spiers dropped back and completed the ball to junior tight end Davis Allen, who leapt up for the ball by the right sideline amidst multiple Orange defenders, obtaining the first down and 12 more yards on a 17-yard gain to the Orange 24-yard line.
Sophomore running back Kobe Pace would move Clemson out ahead once again with his two-yard carry over the threshold with nine seconds to go in the quarter, making it 14-7 Tigers.
At the break, Tucker had 12 carries for 128 yards (10.7 yards per carry).
The Tigers would run six plays on their drive to open the second half, before punting the ball to the Orange, who would punt it right back with a little over eight minutes left in the quarter.
Four drives, four punts to open the third quarter, two from Clemson and two from Syracuse, keeping the score at 14-7.
The Orange had the Tigers on their own six-yard line on 3rd-&-6, but Uiagalelei was patient, let the traffic move by him, and took his keeper 10 yards to provide a new set of downs for the offense.
Syracuse would take care of the drive three plays later forcing a punt thanks to true freshman cornerback Duce Chestnut blanketing his receiver, Ngata.
The quarter would end with five total punts on five drives, three by the Tigers, with the Orange taking their third drive of the half into the start of the fourth quarter. This drive was a quick three-and-out for Syracuse, punting for their third time in the second half, and taking less than a minute off the game clock in the final quarter.
Syracuse's defense would halt the Clemson offense to force their own three-and-out on the very next possession, leaving the Orange offense with 12:57 down seven.
The next drive by the Orange would be marred by back-to-back penalties and the ball rolling off the hands of redshirt-freshman wide receiver Courtney Jackson on 3rd-&-14 leading to Syracuse's fourth punt on four drives in the second half.
Senior kicker B.T. Potter would break the scoring drought on his 40-yard field goal at the 9:22 mark of the fourth quarter to extend the Tigers out to a double-digit lead for the first time in the game, 17-7.
Syracuse would end their own drought on their very next possession, taking the fifth play of the drive to "glory territory" on a 62-yard pass play where Shrader found freshman wide receiver Trebor Pena who caught the ball, spun away from a tackle attempt, and Superman-d out over the goal-line to shrink the Orange deficit to three, 17-14, with 7:18 remaining.
Redshirt-junior defensive back Eric Coley would prevent a catch in single-coverage on third down, forcing Clemson to punt the ball just inside five minutes to go, with Syracuse down three.
Shrader would keep the team afloat on a 3rd-&-15 pass where he used his legs to get out of the pocket, throwing on the run to an open freshman wide receiver Damien Alford, who got the Orange 17 yards to their own 30.
The transfer quarterback would keep this drive alive once again on 4th-&-7 when Shrader sent it to an open redshirt-sophomore wide receiver Anthony Queeley for 17 yards to midfield.
On 3rd-&-2, Tucker went ahead for one yard, setting up 4th-&-1 on the Clemson 30.
Syracuse Head Coach Dino Babers elected to attempt a 48-yard field goal and redshirt-junior kicker Andre Szmyt's try fell well short of the goal posts ending the game for the Orange in a 17-14 loss at home to the Tigers, moving Syracuse under .500 for the first time this season, at 3-4 overall. The Orange are now 0-3 in conference play in the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC).
Clemson elevates to 4-2 overall and 3-1 in the ACC.
A bright spot for Syracuse on a day where they honored storied and larger-than-life running back Floyd Little was Tucker who once again impressed indvidually with 22 carries for 157 yards (7.1 yards per carry).