Syracuse Field Goal Disrupts Clemson's Aim For A Perfect Season
The Clemson Tigers went into the Carrier Dome in Syracuse, N.Y., Friday night undefeated, but they left crushed after their hopes for a perfect season were dashed. The Syracuse Orange beat the No. 2-ranked Tigers 27-24.
Clemson had won 12 consecutive games on the opponent's home field — the longest streak in Clemson history. It also ties for the second longest active streak in the nation.
Syracuse Quarterback Eric Dungey threw for 278 yards and three touchdowns. But it was Cole Murphy who put the Orange ahead on the scoreboard when he kicked a tie-breaking field goal in the fourth quarter.
Dungey got the team off to a good start, he threw a 23-yard touchdown pass on the opening drive of the game.
Afterward, Syracuse coach Dino Babers told reporters, "This is truly one of the moments that you coach for. This is really special." Babers is in his second year with the Orange.
"It wasn't our night tonight," Clemson coach Dabo Swinney told reporters. "We're not going to be 12-0, that's for sure. That's not going to happen. This is going to hurt, but you move forward."
Adding to Clemson's problems, quarterback Kelly Bryant suffered a likely concussion in the final minutes of the first half. No word yet if he'll have to sit out any games.
But Clemson had other issues as ESPN reports:
"Clemson, too, was a mess, a shell of the team that held the nation's longest active winning streak. On defense, the Tigers were flummoxed by Syracuse's up-tempo attack. On offense, aside from two big runs — a 37-yard touchdown by Tavien Feaster and a 52-yard score by Travis Etienne — there was no consistency. On special teams, it was a nightmare, with two missed field goal attempts and a disastrous fake punt that proved to be the last play Clemson would run.
"The same team that so thoroughly dominated Louisville and Virginia Tech on the road seemed overwhelmed inside the Carrier Dome."
The loss — while ruining Clemson's chance at a perfect season — also hurts the Tigers' chances as repeating as national champions.
The bright spot is that Clemson won the national championship last year despite a loss during the season to Pittsburgh.
The Tigers will have a chance to regroup next weekend — the team has a bye. Syracuse travels to Florida to face No. 11 Miami.
Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.