SYRACUSE, N.Y. – B.T. Potter’s 40-yard field goal with 9:22 to play to give Clemson a 10-point edge proved to be the difference, as Clemson held on to defeat Syracuse, 17-14, at the Carrier Dome on Friday night. Clemson (4-2, 3-1 ACC) won its fourth in a row in the series and improved to 8-2 all-time against the Orange, who fell to 3-4 with the loss. Syracuse placekicker Andre Szmyt’s 47-yard game-tying field goal attempt sailed left with 38 seconds to play, allowing the Tigers to seal the victory.
Clemson controlled the clock offensively, tallying 32:59 of possession and racking up 20 first downs to keep the chains moving. Kobe Pace tallied 76 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries, and quarterback DJ Uiagalelei was 21-34 for 181 yards and a score through the air, and added 26 yards on the ground.
Defensively, Clemson forced four three-and-outs, piled up six tackles for loss, broke up eight passes and tallied two sacks on the night. Baylon Spector led the Tigers with 10 stops,
Joseph Ngata capped a 12-play 87-yard drive with 1:03 to play in the first quarter, as he hauled in a twisting catch in the right side of the end zone, getting his right foot down just before falling out of bounds. Syracuse answered on the next drive with a 91-yard drive of their own to tie the score at 7-7.
After trading punts, Clemson took over with 2:06 to play in the half on its own 32 yardline. The Clemson drive appeared to stall out before punter Will Spiers hit Davis Allen for 17 yards on 4th-and-5. Uiagalelei hit Justyn Ross over the middle to bring the Tigers to the two yardline, when Kobe Pace punched it in to cap the 13-play, 58-yard drive with just nine seconds to play in the half.
Following Potter’s 40-yard field goal, the Orange’s Trebor Pena scored with 7:18 to play in the game on a 62-yard pass from Garrett Shrader to cut the Tigers’ lead to 17-14.
After Syracuse was able to get a defensive stop, the Orange went on a 14-play, 63-yard drive to get into field goal range, converting on a 3rd-and-15 and 4th-and-7 during the drive. That set up Szmyt’s attempt, which missed left, and gave the Tigers the ball back with 38 seconds to play.
Clemson will face another road test next week when the Tigers travel to face the Pittsburgh Panthers on Saturday, Oct. 23. Kickoff for that game is set for 3:30 p.m. on either ABC or ESPN.