Clemson Upset by Syracuse After Kelly Bryant Leaves with Concussion

Alec Nathan@@AlecBNathanFeatured ColumnistOctober 14, 2017

SYRACUSE, NY - OCTOBER 13:  Dontae Strickland #4 of the Syracuse Orange dives into the end zone for a touchdown during the first quarter against the Clemson Tigers at the Carrier Dome on October 13, 2017 in Syracuse, New York.  (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)
Brett Carlsen/Getty Images

The Syracuse Orange stunned the No. 2 Clemson Tigers 27-24 Friday evening at the Carrier Dome as the defending national champions floundered on both sides of the ball and stumbled to their first loss in 11 months. 

According to Syracuse.com's Chris Carlson, the upset marked the Orange's first over a Top 10 opponent since they beat Virginia Tech in November 2002. 

ESPN Stats & Info offered additional context from the Tigers' perspective on a night when problems abounded for their offense: 

ESPN Stats & Info @ESPNStatsInfo

Clemson closed as a 23.5-point favorite against Syracuse. This is their biggest upset loss in the last 40 seasons.

Quarterback Kelly Bryant (12-of-17, 116 yards) entered the ACC tilt gimpy after he suffered an ankle injury last week against Wake Forest, and it was evident early that he wasn't 100 percent. 

Limping around the pocket and seemingly running at half-speed outside of it, Bryant couldn't establish a rhythm and looked out of sorts. 

In the second quarter, the Tigers' starting signal-caller was escorted to the locker room with a concussion after Syracuse defensive lineman Chris Slayton slammed him hard into the turf, according to ESPN's Jen Lada

Redshirt freshman Zerrick Cooper entered in relief of Bryant, but he couldn't make the offense more efficient. As a team, the Tigers went 2-of-11 on third downs, which compared unfavorably to Syracuse's mark of 8-of-19 in those same situations. 

Speaking of the Orange offense, quarterback Eric Dungey acquitted himself nicely against the nation's fifth-ranked scoring defense. 

All told, Dungey went 20-of-32 for 278 yards and three scores, all of which came from at least 20 yards out. 

ACC Digital Network captured Syracuse's longest scoring strike, which featured Dungey hitting Ervin Philips in stride for a 66-yard jaunt to the end zone: 

ACC Digital Network @theACCDN

The play that helped spark the upset: @EricDungey to @Ambition1_ for a 66-yard TD. @CuseFootball gets the 27-24 upset win! #MustSeeACC https://t.co/Dy2kzXDpmr

Philips led all Orange wideouts with 94 yards on four catches, and fellow WR Steve Ishmael added six receptions for 73 yards and a touchdown to help Syracuse consistently pick up chunk gains against a Clemson secondary that was out of sorts. 

The Associated Press' Ralph D. Russo and Bleacher Report's Adam Kramer noted the Syracuse offense assumed boom-or-bust form in the win: 

Ralph D. Russo @ralphDrussoAP

Trying to remember last time I saw an offense this effective yet pretty much getting beaten up front on every play.

Adam Kramer @KegsnEggs

Syracuse with the get sacked or score a touchdown offense.

As if Clemson's inability to contain Syracuse's playmakers wasn't bad enough, the Tigers were also tagged for 119 penalty yards as they consistently gave the Orange new life and failed to get off the field on key third downs. 

Now reeling following a shocking result and Bryant's second injury in as many weeks, the Tigers will have two weeks off to prep for a potential bounce-back performance against Georgia Tech on Oct. 28. 


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