Syracuse Football: A 5 question sit down with the enemy (Clemson)

The Syracuse football team is fresh coming off their bye week. Now they have to prepare for arguably their toughest opponent in the Clemson TIgers. So to do that, we do our weekly sit down with the enemy.

Oct 29, 2016; Tallahassee, FL, USA; Clemson Tigers quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) makes a signal to the crowd after a touchdown during the game against the Florida State Seminoles at Doak Campbell Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports

Every week we do our weekly sit-down with a representative from the opponent. This week we travel to Death Valley and our conversation is with Anthony Messenger Co-Site Expert of Rubbing the Rock, our sister site for all things Clemson on FanSided.

In this interview we implore the palpable change from last year’s championship squad to this year’s team and what the differences are. Plus we provide the blue print for a SU victory, if that’s possible.

I also reciprocated and sat down with their site and answered some questions on this matchup.

Make sure to go give their Twitter a follow here (@RubbingTheRock) and also give Anthony a follow (@AntMess4).

So with that being said, lets get right to it. Here’s our weekly sit-down with the enemy segment, lets start the interrogation!

Oct 15, 2016; Clemson, SC, USA; Clemson Tigers head coach Dabo Swinney reacts during the second half against the North Carolina State Wolfpack at Clemson Memorial Stadium. Tigers won 24-17. Mandatory Credit: Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports

Paul A. Esden Jr: If you compare this year’s team to last year’s team there are some similarities and some differences. Both of these teams were undefeated and they’re both led by Heisman hopeful Deshaun Watson. But it seems this year the team isn’t as dominant, despite returning much of the same National Championship corps. Why have these Tigers played to their opponent thus far this season? What’s different this season?

Anthony Messenger (@antmess4)

“The difference between this years squad and last years squad is their experience. I believe that Deshuan Watson and company are hungry for a shot at a national title, the only problem is they aren’t hungry for anything else. At the end of the day these kids are human. Clemson would surely show up in the National Championship game should they make it that far.”

Oct 29, 2016; Tallahassee, FL, USA; Clemson Tigers quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) celebrates after the game against the Florida State Seminoles at Doak Campbell Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports

Paul A. Esden Jr: This team seems to be playing with fire, Clemson has five wins by a TD or less this year, which is tied for the most through eight games by any team to finish the year ranked top 10 in the last decade. Per ESPN Stats & Information, the Tigers are an astounding 18-2 in one-possesion games since 2011, easily the best mark in the FBS. To follow up with my last question, is this team finding ways to win and surviving or is this an inevitable juggling act that is destined to fall apart? Which way do you look at it? To put it simply, is this team a true National Championship contender?

Anthony Messenger (@antmess4)

“I believe this team is truly finding ways to win. Clemson had a 1 percent chance of ending up 8-0 through week 9. That is the slightest chance out of any team in the country. The Tigers were able to slow down Lamar Jackson, Dalvin Cook, and Auburn’s physical running attack. I hesitantly say that Clemson is a National Championship contender. The Tigers are undoubtedly talented enough to get there, however, they turn the ball over too much for my liking. Clemson will not survive against teams like Washington, Michigan, and Alabama if they turn the ball over like they have.”

Oct 22, 2016; Boston, MA, USA; Syracuse quarterback Eric Dungey (2) throws downfield during the first half of their 28-20 win over Boston College at Alumni Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

Paul A. Esden Jr: Alright lets flip over to the Orange side, if Syracuse was going to come away with the monumental upset, what’s the blue print to do it? What does this team have to do to win?

Anthony Messenger (@antmess4)

“So far the blueprint to hanging with Clemson has been to force Deshuan Watson to turn the ball over and limit the Tigers ground game. If Syracuse can hold the Tigers to around 100 yards rushing and create turnovers they will have a shot. The biggest issue Syracuse will have is Clemson’s front seven. Austin Bryant is back in the rotation which gives the Tigers already stout defense another weapon. The Tigers front is as massive and deep as they come.”

Oct 29, 2016; Tallahassee, FL, USA; Clemson Tigers running back Wayne Gallman (9) celebrates after a touchdown during the game against the Florida State Seminoles at Doak Campbell Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports

Paul A. Esden Jr: Who’s going to be the x-factor in this game for Clemson on offense and defense? And is there a player on the Tigers roster who isn’t being talked about that’ll have a huge impact on the game?

Anthony Messenger (@antmess4)

“The X-factor for Clemson’s offense is their offensive line. If they can get a good push up front and allow Wayne Gallman to get going, this Clemson offense will run much smoother. Gallman is a physical running back, when he starts running through people it gives this entire team confidence and energy. The X-factor for Clemson’s defense is Jadar Johnson. If healthy, Johnson will be a force against the Orange. The senior safety is a ball hawk, currently leading the team with 4 interceptions. Hunter Renfrow could have a big outing in this one. He is healthy and flying under the radar at the moment. Much of the attention will be on Jordan Leggett and Mike Williams, leaving Renfrow to exploit one on one match-ups in the slot.”

Nov 14, 2015; Syracuse, NY, USA; Syracuse Orange linebacker Zaire Franklin (4) tackles Clemson Tigers running back Zac Brooks (24) during the fourth quarter of a game at the Carrier Dome. Clemson won 37-27. Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

Paul A. Esden Jr: Lets close it out, who wins this game and why?

Anthony Messenger (@antmess4)

“Clemson wins this one. The Tigers have the home-field advantage and Dabo Swinney is

going to make sure they do not fall trap to a let down after their emotional victory over Florida State. The Cuse will keep it competitive, I like what Dino Barbers has brewing over at

Syracuse. He appears to have a quiet confidence and I expect him to turn things around in the coming years.”

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