No. 5 Clemson vs. No. 14 Syracuse

— We will see today if Syracuse are without one, two or both starting corners today. Both Garrett Williams and Duce Chestnut left last week’s game with an injury. Williams (thigh bruise) could be out today.

For Clemson, the Tigers should be in pretty good shape injury-wise. We will have the availability list 90 minutes before kick-off.

— Summarizing some of what I wrote this week:

*** When orange corners are on an island, Clemson receivers need to earn more than they have recently. In a softer area, take whatever is there. Bottom line, connect downline when the opportunities are there, but don’t force it either, as Syracuse will try to trick you into making bad decisions by mixing and disguising.

*** I think it might to be another important game for Uiagalelei’s legs. (But what game isn’t in Clemson’s offense in 2022?)

*** ‘Cuse has not cleared a ground score since Sept. 23. The Orange rank allows 95 rushing yards per game and 3.2 per carry. In many ways, this Orange run defense was effective. Still, and despite the challenges of catching all the movement, let’s see if Clemson’s offensive line can intimidate Syracuse’s undersized front. The move has given Clemson problems in the past. But feed a hot Will Shipley early and often and see if Clemson can’t move the ball to the ground.

*** Chestnut said this week that he thinks Syracuse is one of the top five defenses in the nation. It will be a defense to prove that it is just as good as Clemson’s. But Clemson’s defense also has a lot to prove, especially in 1) coming off a substandard outing defending the run and tackling last week and 2) being placed behind the Orange in several defensive categories.

Bottom line, Clemson’s defensive front at its best is better than Syracuse’s offensive line at its best. And Clemson’s linebackers and safeties are better than they showed last week. Tigers have to play like that.

*** Can the Clemson defense force Garrett Schrader to make bad decisions by throwing the ball? First and foremost, defending Shrader starts with containment.

*** Explain where No. 34 (running back Sean Tucker) and No. 19 (wide receiver Oronde Gadsden) are and how Syracuse wants to give them the ball in what Syracuse considers one-on-one matchups favorable headers.

*** Don’t be beaten by the tempo. Or the cutback.

*** Bring the noise, Death Valley. Syracuse’s offense was subject to the pre-snap penalty.

*** More details on ‘Cuse here & here in case you missed it this week.

And a preview of the list of expected visitors to Death Valley today here. (Three-Star Junior Offensive Linemen Blake Franks and four stars Daniel Calhoun have since been added.)

***** Score Prediction…

Syracuse beat their chests a bit this week in media situations. I have no problem with that and neither do you. However, if you’re a Clemson player, the comments spoken this week may certainly catch your eye a bit.

We kind of expected a dominating four-quarter performance from Clemson where the Tigers don’t let up on the gas. Is today we get it? I don’t know for sure. But the pieces are in place, especially with the Tigers nearing full strength.

I believe Syracuse has the personnel and the plan to give Clemson trouble in certain areas, especially if Clemson’s defense allows for a repeat of last week. Clemson’s offensive line needs to take another step forward, and wide receivers need to step up.

Death Valley isn’t UConn, the only away game Syracuse has played so far this season. Consider this matters today on a grand stage with heightened implications.

Take the under 49.5 because I think both defenses could be successful today.

Clemson 30, Syracuse 17