Oct 15, 2021; Syracuse, New York, USA; Clemson Tigers wide receiver Justyn Ross (8) catches the ball in front of Syracuse Orange linebacker Marlowe Wax (2) during the first half at the Carrier Dome. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Clemson hangs on as Syracuse misses late FG

Syracuse’s Andre Szmyt missed a 48-yard field goal with 43 seconds left as Clemson held on for a 17-14 victory over host Syracuse on Friday night.

It was fifth game this season decided by a touchdown or less for Clemson (4-2, 3-1 Atlantic Coast Conference), the six-time defending league champion.

The Tigers have won eight of their past nine meetings with Syracuse (3-4, 0-3), which lost its third consecutive game, all by three points.

Clemson quarterback D.J. Uiagalelei completed a season-high 21 passes on 34 attempts for 181 yards and a touchdown. However, the Tigers once again had to rely on their defense, which entered the night ranked second in the nation in opponents’ scoring at 12.5 points per game.

Syracuse running back Sean Tucker, who has rushed for 100 yards or more in six of seven games this season, had 132 yards by halftime Friday. He was held to only 25 in the second half.

The game was close throughout. Clemson broke a scoreless tie by driving 87 yards in 13 plays early in the second quarter for a 19-yard touchdown reception by Joseph Ngata in the far right edge of the end zone.

Syracuse responded on its ensuring possession, driving 91 yards for a tying touchdown. Tucker set the Orange up with a 39-yard run to the Clemson 2-yard line, and quarterback Garrett Shrader dashed untouched around the left side on the next play, knotting the game with 5:33 left in the first half.

Clemson came back to grab a 14-7 lead with nine seconds remaining in the half, driving 58 yards in 13 plays in just 1:58. The Tigers converted a fourth-and-5 on the drive when punter Will Spiers — who played quarterback in high school — lofted a 17-yard pass to tight end Davis Allen for the first down.

Justyn Ross then snagged a 15-yard pass to set the Tigers up at the 2, and running back Kobe Pace bulled in on the next play. Pace led Clemson with 76 yards on 14 carries.

After a scoreless third quarter, Clemson extended its lead to 17-7 with a 40-yard field goal by B.T. Potter with 9:22 left in the game. Syracuse struck back quickly, getting a 62-yard touchdown pass from Shrader to Trevor Pena on its next possession to pull within 17-14 with 7:18 left.

Syracuse then drove from its own 7-yard line to the Clemson 30 where Szmyt, who earlier in the game became the school’s all-time leading scorer, came up short with 38 seconds remaining.

Shrader completed 17 of 37 passes for 191 yards with one touchdown and one interception.

–Field Level Media

Sep 8, 2018; Winston-Salem, NC, USA; Wake Forest Demon Deacons place kicker Nick Sciba (96) attempts a field goal in the second quarter against the Towson Tigers at BB&T Field. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

No. 19 Wake tries to stay unbeaten, visits Syracuse

Two teams that know plenty about the importance of a field goal meet Saturday when No. 19 Wake Forest takes on host Syracuse in an Atlantic Coast Conference game.

Wake Forest (5-0, 3-0 ACC) is trying to build on one of the best starts in the program’s history.

“If you’re going to have a special season, you’re going to find a way to win your share,” Wake Forest coach Dave Clawson said.

The Demon Deacons had their only close call of the season last week, when a last-minute field goal by Nick Sciba boosted them to a 37-34 victory over visiting Louisville.

A few hours later, Syracuse (3-2, 0-1) experienced the other end of a late field goal, when host Florida State broke a tie on the game’s final play in a 33-30 decision in Tallahassee, Fla.

“We’ll stay together,” Orange coach Dino Babers said. “We’ll get another opportunity. I think we’re doing some good things.”

This marks the third year in a row that the Demon Deacons visit Syracuse, losing at the Carrier Dome 39-30 in 2019 in overtime and then winning last year 38-14.

“We’ve got basically the No. 1 team in the ACC coming into our house,” Syracuse fullback Chris Elmore said. “Wake Forest, they’re not a pushover.”

The Demon Deacons, who hold the highest national ranking among ACC teams, are 3-0 in conference play for the first time in a decade.

Sciba made three field goals in the Louisville game, pushing his career total to 67 of 74 for the highest percentage (.905) in NCAA history.

Syracuse kicker Andre Szmyt, who is 6-for-8 on field goals this season, has strong credentials as well. He was the 2018 Lou Groza Award winner as a freshman, when he led the NCAA with 30 field goals, and has made 62 of 73 of attempts in his career — an 84.9 percentage.

Significant contributions keep coming from across the Wake Forest roster. Safety Traveon Redd was the ACC Defensive Back of the Week after making 11 tackles and forcing a fumble in the Louisville game, while running back Justice Ellison was the ACC Rookie of the Week owing to his team-high 67 rushing yards. Ellison has scored a touchdown in each of the past three games.

“He’s very reliable, dependable,” Clawson said.

That’s a good thing, because running back Christian Beal-Smith has been “nicked up,” Clawson said.

Quarterback Sam Hartman of Wake Forest eclipsed the 300-yard mark for passing yards for the first time this season in the Louisville game.

Quarterback Garrett Shrader tied a Syracuse record for rushing touchdowns by a quarterback with three against Florida State. It was the Mississippi State transfer’s second start with the Orange.

“We’ve got to score in the red zone,” Shrader said. “We’ve got to score more touchdowns. … I felt like we had a lot more confidence in the offense, that we’re going to be able to go make plays.”

Syracuse is retooling a bit after Taj Harris, who had been the team’s top receiver through four games, entered the transfer portal. He didn’t play at Florida State. At least the Orange has Elmore back after he missed the first four games.

The winning team in this matchup has scored at least 38 points in four straight meetings, beginning with Wake Forest’s 64-43 road win in 2017.

–Field Level Media

Florida State Seminoles tight end Camren McDonald (87) gets pushed out of bounds as he runs down the field. The Florida State Seminoles lead the Syracuse Orange 16-13 at the half Saturday, Oct. 2, 2021.

Fsu V Syracuse First Half009

Florida State hangs on for first win, drops Syracuse

Ryan Fitzgerald made a 34-yard field goal with one second left as Florida State beat visiting Syracuse 33-30 Saturday afternoon in Tallahassee, Fla. to end a season-opening four-game losing streak.

The Seminoles (1-4, 1-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) avoided their first 0-5 start since going 1-10 in 1974 on a day when they blew a pair of 10-point leads.

Fitzgerald gave Florida State its first win when his attempt hooked just inside the right goal post and it capped a productive day by quarterback Jordan Travis, who was unavailable for last week’s loss to Louisville due to a knee injury.

Travis completed 22 of 32 passes for 131 yards and threw for two touchdowns. He also gained a career-high 113 yards on the ground and set up Fitzgerald’s game-winner with runs of 33 and 25 yards.

Travis threw 14-yard TDs to Camren McDonald and Keyshawn Helton in the second quarter as Florida State took a 16-13 lead. He also directed scoring drives that resulted in three-yard TD runs by Andrew Parchment and Jashaun Corbin as Florida State pulled off the win after holding leads of 23-13 and 30-20.

Syracuse (3-2, 0-1) dropped to 0-7 all-time at Florida State and also was unable to get its third straight win.

Quarterback Garrett Shrader was 13 of 23 for 150 yards and a TD. He also rushed for 137 yards and scored three rushing TDs, including a 55-yard score in the second quarter.

Sean Tucker, who entered second in the nation in rushing yards, posted his third straight 100-yard performance by finishing with 102 yards on 24 attempts.

The Orange rallied from its second 10-point deficit when Anthony Queeley barely stayed in bounds with 10:41 left for a 26-yard TD and Andre Szmyt made a 24-yard field goal with 5:17 left.

Syracuse was forced to punt with about a minute remaining and Travis got a pair of first downs to set up the dramatic finish.

Florida State never trailed after Helton’s TD with 36 seconds before halftime but Syracuse was within 23-20 on Shrader’s 1-yard TD run with nine seconds left in the third.

–Field Level Media

Sep 18, 2021; Syracuse, New York, USA; Syracuse Orange running back Sean Tucker (34) runs with the ball in front of Albany Great Danes defensive back Tyler Carswell (2) on his way to the end zone for a touchdown during the first half at the Carrier Dome. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Sean Tucker, Syracuse aim to rush past winless Florida State

Only 18 yards separate Syracuse running back Sean Tucker from being the most prolific rusher in the Football Bowl Subdivision.

Next up for Tucker and the rest of the Orange is a visit to Tallahassee, Fla. Tucker and Syracuse hope of another big day on Saturday against winless Florida State, which is off to its worst start since 1974.

The Orange (3-1, 0-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) are seeking their third straight win after posting victories over Albany and Liberty.

Tucker enters this week with 536 rushing yards, which is second in the FBS behind Michigan State’s Kenneth Walker III. Tucker is averaging 6.5 yards per carry, numbers that are prolific enough for former Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III to include Tucker in the Top 5 of his Heisman Watch.

In Friday’s 24-21 win over Liberty, Tucker rushed for 169 yards on 32 attempts against an opponent who entered 10th nationally in rushing yards per game allowed. Syracuse survived blowing a 14-point lead when Andre Szmyt kicked a 35-yard field goal as time expired.

“There’s one thing when you’re on this football team and Sean Tucker is running the ball the way he is, our No. 1 job is to find ways to make sure he gets the ball,” Orange coach Dino Babers said. “I think it’s pretty evident that we’ve got coaches and players and everybody working to try to find ways to make sure he doesn’t just disappear in a football game.”

Florida State (0-4, 0-2) have committed 11 turnovers and dropped three games by eight points or less.

On Saturday, Florida State gave up the game’s first 17 points, trailed by 24 late in the first half and took a 31-23 home loss to Louisville. Quarterback McKenzie Milton completed 24 of 39 passes for 248 yards while Jashaun Corbin had a 75-yard touchdown run and Treshaun Ward contributed a 20-yard scoring run.

“Came out and played really hard in the second half,” Florida State coach Mike Norvell said. “Defensively did a great job being able to get off the field. Just missed opportunities. We had our chances. Didn’t finish drives. We got to finish.”

The Seminoles have allowed at least 30 points in three of their first four games and enter as the ACC’s second-worst scoring defense at 31.8 points per game. Florida State is allowing 132.3 rushing yards per game, which is eighth in the ACC, but its 3.1 yards allowed per carry are tied for third best in the ACC behind Clemson and Syracuse.

–Field Level Media

Sep 11, 2021; Syracuse, New York, USA; Rutgers Scarlet Knights defensive lineman CJ Onyechi (26) recovers a fumble as Syracuse Orange offensive lineman Airon Servais (68) tackles during the fourth quarter at the Carrier Dome. Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

Syracuse seeks consistency in matchup with Albany

Syracuse’s first two games produced mixed results. Against Ohio, the Orange were able get enough done offensively, but in their home opener against Rutgers, Syracuse’s offense achieved little.

The Orange hope to display more of a productive offense Saturday afternoon when they host FCS foe Albany.

Syracuse (1-1) has scored a total of 36 points in the first two weeks, and its 641 yards are tied with Miami for the fewest in the ACC. The Orange are averaging 175 rushing yards, good for sixth in the league, but their 145.5 passing yards per game are last in the ACC.

On Saturday, the Orange totaled 258 yards and held possession for 24:04 in a 17-7 loss to visiting Rutgers.

Tommy DeVito completed 15 of 26 passes for 149 yards and also threw an interception and committed a fumble that led to a field goal. He sat for two series in the first half as Garrett Shrader completed 4 of 6 passes for 42 yards.

It is possible the two Orange quarterbacks could split time Saturday, but the team hopes all facets go well, including special teams after Syracuse missed a field-goal attempt and had a punt blocked in the loss to Rutgers.

“We get a chance to work on our weaknesses, that’s the biggest thing,” Shrader said. “Something’s gotta change, but we get a chance to sharpen up going into Liberty and then Florida State and other FBS teams so we can be more explosive on offense.”

Albany (0-2) is experiencing some of the same offensive issues as Syracuse and makes the trip having scored 20 total points in its first two games. After opening the season with a 28-6 loss at North Dakota State, the Great Danes were held to 215 yards in a 16-14 defeat to Rhode Island despite running 74 offensive plays and maintaining possession for more than 33 minutes.

It was the fourth straight game dating to the spring season Albany failed to score more than 14 points, and Saturday’s disappointing outcome occurred after the Great Danes opened the game with a 92-yard touchdown drive. Albany then went three-and-out on six straight possessions as quarterback Jeff Undercuffler was 19 of 35 for 166 yards and was sacked five times.

“I don’t know the answer right now, but I will as we move forward,” Albany coach Greg Gattuso said. “We’re not scoring enough points to win games.”

–Field Level Media

Sep 11, 2021; Syracuse, New York, USA; Syracuse Orange wide receiver Trebor Pena (29) goes to recover a muffed punt return as Rutgers Scarlet Knights defensive back Max Melton (16) and Rutgers Scarlet Knights long snapper Billy Taylor (47) come in during the second quarter at the Carrier Dome. Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

Rutgers wins defensive battle vs. Syracuse

Defensive back Max Melton forced a pair of turnovers as visiting Rutgers did enough in the second half to record a 17-7 victory over host Syracuse on Saturday afternoon.

The Scarlet Knights improved to 2-0 for the first time since 2014 – their first season in the Big Ten and most recent appearance in a bowl game.

Rutgers eventually got enough done in a game in which neither team scored until there was 6:46 remaining in the third quarter. The teams were a combined 5-for-29 on third downs.

After guiding eight scoring drives in last week’s 61-14 rout of Temple, Noah Vedral (22 of 28 for 145 yards, touchdown) guided three scoring drives that resulted in points being scored in different ways.

Kyle Monangai scored on an 11-yard touchdown for the game’s first points and Vedral connected with Jovani Haskins for a 30-yard TD in the final seconds of the third. Valentino Ambrosio made a 27-yard field goal for Rutgers’ final points.

Melton blocked a punt in the first half and then sealed the win with an interception with 41 seconds left.

Syracuse (1-1, 0-0 ACC) was unable to do much offensively — no matter who it used as quarterback.

Tommy Devito completed 15 of 26 passes for 149 yards while Garret Shrader played two series in the first half. He was 4-of-6 for 42 yards.

Taj Harris finished with eight receptions for 122 yards and Sean Tucker rushed for 54 yards and a TD. The Orange maintained possession for only 24:04.

Syracuse missed two chances to score the game’s first points in the final minute of the first half. On first-and-10 from the Rutgers 38, Shrader’s pass to an open Courtney Jackson was incomplete. Right before halftime, Andre Szmyt missed a 43-yard field goal with nine seconds left.

After Syracuse coach Dino Babers was assessed an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, Monangai gave Rutgers a 7-0 lead with 6:46 remaining. On the ensuing drive, Devito completed a 51-yard pass to Harris to set up Tucker’s game-tying 24-yard score with 5:54 remaining.

The Scarlet Knights regained the lead at 14-7 with 24 seconds left when Vedral found a wide open Haskins up the middle for a 30-yard TD.

Immediately after Ambrosio’s miss, Devito was stripped in the pocket by Mayan Ahanotu and the fumble was recovered by CJ Onyechi at the Syracuse 10. A little over two minutes later, Ambrosio booted a 27-yard field goal for a 17-7 lead.

–Field Level Media

Dec 5, 2020; South Bend, Indiana, USA; Syracuse Orange running back Sean Tucker (34) takes a direct snap in the second quarter against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at Notre Dame Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

RB Sean Tucker powers Syracuse past Ohio

Sean Tucker rushed for a career-high 181 yards and a touchdown on 25 carries to power visiting Syracuse in a 29-9 win over Ohio in a nonconference matchup on Saturday night in Athens, Ohio.

Syracuse (1-0) won for the seventh time in its last eight season openers and claimed its eighth straight victory against the Mid-American Conference. Quarterback Tommy DeVito completed 11 of 17 passes for just 92 yards, but he added 49 rushing yards and a score on the ground.

Ohio (0-1) lost the head coaching debut for Tim Albin, the program’s long-time offensive coordinator who was elevated to the head role in July following the retirement of Frank Solich. Kurtis Rourke hit on 21 of 28 passes for 142 yards with an interception and even caught a 38-yard pass for the Bobcats, who managed just nine points on three trips into the red zone on the night.

Jerome Buckner hauled in seven catches for 102 yards, De’Montre Tuggle added 65 yards rushing, and Stephen Johnson kicked three short field goals of 22, 30 and 25 yards for Ohio.

Syracuse pulled away with a pair of third-quarter scores to take a 22-6 lead into the final frame. Andre Szmyt kicked a 20-yard field goal, and then Tucker found paydirt on a 6-yard touchdown run for the 16-point lead with 40 seconds left in the quarter.

Ohio pulled to within 22-9 with 11:21 left on Johnson’s third field goal, but Syracuse answered with Cooper Lutz’ 11-yard touchdown run with 5:15 left for the 29-9 final score.

Orange receiver Taj Harris had six catches for 29 yards and broke his tie with Marvin Harrison for sixth place on the Syracuse career receptions list. Syracuse finished with 280 rushing yards on 44 carries, and averaged 6.4 per attempt.

Ohio out gained Syracuse 171-139 in the first half and had a better than a seven-minute edge in time of possession … but trailed 12-6 at the break.

The Bobcats’ first drive took 12 plays and eight minutes off the clock but ended with a missed 50-yard field goal. Syracuse took the lead just five plays later when DeVito kept the ball on a read for a 6-yard touchdown run.

On the following kickoff, returner Tuggle muffed the return and was tackled on his own 1-yard line. Ohio’s next play was a dive to Tuggle, and he was swarmed under for a safety, and Syracuse led 9-0 with 6:24 left in the first quarter.

The Bobcats got on the board with 13:33 left in the half on Johnson’s 22-yard field goal. Syracuse answered with Szmyt hitting from 29 yards, and Ohio closed the half with Johnson’s 30-yard field goal with just 19 seconds remaining.

–Field Level Media

Nov 29, 2020; Jacksonville, Florida, USA;  Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone on the bench during the second half against the Cleveland Browns at TIAA Bank Field. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Alabama to hire Doug Marrone to coach OL

Former Jacksonville Jaguars coach Doug Marrone is joining Nick Saban’s staff at Alabama, AL.com reported Wednesday.

Marrone will serve as offensive line coach, becoming the second former NFL head coach on the offensive staff. The Crimson Tide’s new offensive coordinator reportedly is former Houston Texans coach Bill O’Brien, although his hiring has not been announced officially.

Marrone was fired in Jacksonville on Jan. 4 after the Jaguars finished the 2020 season with a 1-15 record.

The Jaguars went 23-43 in four-plus seasons under Marrone.

Marrone previously coached the Buffalo Bills (2013-14) and was head coach at Syracuse (2009-12). He had a 25-25 record with the Orange.

The openings on Alabama’s staff came about when Texas hired Crimson Tide offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian as its head coach. He took offensive line coach Kyle Flood with him.

–Field Level Media

Nov 28, 2020; Syracuse, New York, USA; Syracuse Orange head coach Dino Babers on the sidelines in the fourth quarter game against the North Carolina State Wolfpack at the Carrier Dome. Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

AD: Syracuse coach Babers to return for sixth season

Despite a 1-10 campaign, Syracuse athletic director John Wildhack said Friday that Dino Babers will be back for a sixth season as head coach of the Orange, and his seat won’t be any hotter than it has been in the recent past.

“The proverbial hot seat — take that and just delete it,” Wildhack said in response to a question about Babers’ job security during a Zoom conference Friday. “Dino’s going to be our coach in 2021. I hope he’s our coach for a long time. He knows that. I want him to be; the university does. He doesn’t enter 2021 on any kind of hot seat. It’s all about what we can do to get better in 2021 and how we develop them.

“The offseason is going to be incredibly, incredibly important. If we can get them through a traditional year in strength and conditioning, if we can get through spring football, we need time to develop this team. But I’m supportive of coach Babers.”

In five seasons, Babers, 59, has gone 24-36 with Syracuse. Save for a 10-3 season in 2018, the Orange haven’t won more than five games in a season.

Babers, who previously had a 19-7 record for two seasons at Eastern Illinois (2012-13) and an 18-9 record for two seasons at Bowling Green (2014-15), signed a contract extension in 2018. The school described the length of the extension as one that “keeps the veteran coach at the helm of the program well into the future.”

The Orange lost their last eight games of 2020, but Wildhack believes Syracuse’s young players could blossom under Babers’ tutelage.

“The key word is development,” Wildhack said. “We’ve shown we have a number of young players that played and played quite well. When you start six freshmen against the No. 2 team (Notre Dame) in the country, that’s daunting to say the least. There’s no secrets in terms of where we need to improve upon, but the key word is the development of these young players. The potential’s there. We need to turn that potential into reality.”

Syracuse’s lone win came against visiting Georgia Tech, 37-20 on Sept. 26.

–Field Level Media

Nov 28, 2020; Syracuse, New York, USA; North Carolina State Wolfpack running back Ricky Person Jr. (8) runs after making a catch as Syracuse Orange defensive back Ifeatu Melifonwu (2) pursues in the first quarter at the Carrier Dome. Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

Hockman’s career day leads NC State past Syracuse

Bailey Hockman threw a career-high four touchdown passes — three to Thayer Thomas — and visiting North Carolina State recorded a 36-29 victory over Syracuse on Saturday afternoon.

The Wolfpack (7-3, 6-3 ACC) won their third straight game and held off the Orange (1-9, 1-8) with a clutch defensive stop in the final minute.

Syracuse was 7 yards away from tying the game but NC State held on. On third down, Rex Culpepper dropped back to pass, could not find a receiver and was sacked by Payton Wilson for an 11-yard loss as the clock kept moving.

With one second remaining, Culpepper did not know it was fourth down and took a knee, essentially ending the game.

Hockman completed 23 of 31 passes for a career-high 313 yards in his first career 300-yard game. His primary target was Thomas, who had nine receptions for 102 yards.

Thomas had a 15-yard TD reception in the second quarter and TDs of 31 and 9 yards in the third.

Emeka Emezie caught the go-ahead 26-yard TD early in the fourth quarter.

Syracuse lost its seventh straight game and started Culpepper for the fourth time. Starting in place of JaCobian Morgan (undisclosed injury), Culpepper was 23-of-45 for 254 yards and two touchdowns.

Orange receiver Taj Harris tallied a career-high 13 receptions for 146 yards and a touchdown.

Syracuse turned a 14-13 deficit into a 22-14 halftime lead with a 60-yard touchdown catch by Nykeim Johnson and a safety, when Hockman was sacked in the end zone by Marlowe Wax.

Thomas hauled in his second TD with 12:35 remaining in the third to make it 22-20 but Syracuse took a 29-20 lead on Harris’ 13-yard TD with 5:49 remaining.

Thomas scored his third TD about three minutes later to get the Wolfpack within 29-27 and Emezie’s 26-yard TD gave NC State a 33-29 lead less than a minute into the fourth.

Christopher Dunn’s 31-yard field goal made it 36-29 with 5:20 remaining.

–Field Level Media