Matt Connolly

Thumbs up, Thumbs down: Clemson vs. Syracuse

Clemson’s Tanner Muse intercepted a pass and returned it 64 yards for a score Saturday against Syracuse.
Clemson’s Tanner Muse intercepted a pass and returned it 64 yards for a score Saturday against Syracuse. AP

THUMBS UP

Clemson’s secondary: The Tigers picked off three passes, with freshman Tanner Muse returning his interception 64 yards for a touchdown – the longest by a Clemson player since 2012.

Nick Schuessler: The reserve quarterback is listed with Kelly Bryant as co-backup, but looked like the guy if Deshaun Watson were to go down for an extended period of time. The senior completed 11 of 17 passes for 177 yards and two touchdowns.

Deon Cain: The sophomore continues to make big plays for the Tigers, catching five passes for 125 yards and two touchdowns, including a 65-yard score from Watson – the longest play of the year for Clemson.

Backup defense: A lot of reserves played for the Tigers and played well as Clemson earned its first shutout against an FBS team since Oct. of 2015 against Miami.

THUMBS DOWN

Special teams: If Clemson had one problem Saturday it was on special teams. Greg Huegel missed an extra point, while Syracuse had kickoff returns of 39 and 68 yards.

Syracuse QB play: Two quarterbacks combined for three interceptions, with the first of the game being a ball that hit Clemson CB Ryan Carter between the numbers.

Syracuse DBs: The Orange were overmatched from the get go on the outside and never posed a threat to the Clemson receivers, no matter who was playing quarterback.

1st quarter play: The teams combined for six penalties and were 1-for-6 on third down. Syracuse also had a turnover in the quarter, which lasted nearly an hour.

Matt Connolly

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