Clemson survives scare at Syracuse

Courtesy Clemson

Athletic Communications

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — A wild first five minutes set the tone for a back-and-forth affair inside the Carrier Dome, but at the end of the day Clemson emerged victorious over Syracuse by a score of 37-27.[cointent_lockedcontent]

Courtesy Clemson defensive end Shaq Lawson, a former Daniel High School standout, makes a tackle at Syracuse on Saturday.

Clemson defensive end Shaq Lawson, a former Daniel High School standout, makes a tackle at Syracuse on Saturday.

The win moved the No. 1 Tigers to 10-0 on the season, giving the program its fifth consecutive 10-win season. Clemson will have a chance to finish undefeated in ACC play this Saturday against Wake Forest.

Sophomore sensation Deshaun Watson was once again brilliant for the Tigers, accounting for a career-high 461 yards of total offense. The sophomore signal-caller threw for 360 and rushed for 101, while tossing two touchdowns and adding a third on the ground. His favorite target was Charone Peake, who had a career-high 120 yards through the air and tied another with seven grabs.

Clemson got off to a fast start on the first play from scrimmage, when Watson unleashed a 64-yard strike to Peake. That put the Tigers inside the 10-yard line of the Orange, and running back Wayne Gallman dashed in on the next play to open the scoring.

Watson made it 14-0 with a quarterback keeper on a zone read following a Syracuse fumble on its first play from scrimmage.

A pair of fumbles erased the good vibes, however, as Syracuse knotted the game at 14 apiece late in the opening quarter.

But Watson settled the Tigers again, throwing beautiful touchdowns to Peake and freshman Deon Cain to help Clemson push ahead 31-17 at halftime.

The Orange closed the gap even further, trailing just 31-24 after the third quarter.

With the crowd at a fever pitch, Clemson faced fourth-and-two on the opening play of the fourth quarter. Gallman took a pitch and ran 14 yards to the left for a first down, setting up the second of Greg Huegel’s three field goals.

The freshman walk-on kicker is a perfect 15-of-15 in ACC games for the Tigers.

Clemson ran out the clock over the final 5:57 of the game, cementing the team’s 19th win over a 20-game stretch dating to last season.

The Tigers will return to Memorial Stadium this weekend to close out the home portion of the schedule. Clemson will take on Wake Forest at 3:30 p.m. in a game that has been designated as Military Appreciation Day. The game, which will be televised on ESPN2, is also designated as a “purple-out,” with fans encouraged to wear purple to the game.

Officials also announced Monday that next weekend’s game between Clemson and rival South Carolina at Williams-Brice Stadium in Columbia will kick off at noon.