(Photo credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports)
Six Atlantic Coast Conference teams are undefeated entering this weekend, so it's no surprise that the matchup between Clemson and Syracuse features one team with an unblemished record.
However, in an unlikely twist, it's the host Orange who will put their unbeaten mark on the line Saturday.
Clemson (2-2, 0-2 ACC) outgained then-fourth-ranked Florida State 429-311 last weekend and outrushed the Seminoles 146-22 before falling in overtime 31-24. Clemson committed a costly turnover and also missed a 29-yard field goal in the disappointing setback.
"That, honestly, was probably as tough a loss as I've ever been a part of," Tigers coach Dabo Swinney said, adding that "if you can't see the heart of our team, then you're just blind."
An agitated group of Tigers will travel to Syracuse to take on the Orange (4-0, 0-0), who ran the table in non-conference play, punctuating the slate with a 29-16 triumph against Army last week.
Syracuse survived a sluggish first half in which it trailed 10-3 at intermission before scoring the first 26 points of the second half.
Garrett Shrader completed 21 of 26 passes for 245 yards and a touchdown and also ran for a score. LeQuint Allen (104 rushing yards, TD) and Damien Alford (nine catches, 135 yards) were among the other offensive standouts for Syracuse.
That trio will need to step up if the hosts are going to compete with the Tigers' Cade Klubnik -- who has nine passing TDs and two rushing scores this year -- and the backfield of Will Shipley and Phil Mafah (527 rushing yards and four rushing TDs combined).
"These guys are the same champions that they've always been," Syracuse coach Dino Babers said. "There's a reason why they've won so many championships and they've been in (so many playoffs)."
Clemson has won nine of the last 10 meetings between the teams, including 27-21 a season ago. The Orange were undefeated heading into that one, as well, before the Tigers sent Syracuse tumbling toward a 1-6 finish to the season.
--Field Level Media