No. 1 Clemson visits Syracuse in key ACC matchup

4
No. 1 Clemson visits Syracuse in key ACC matchup
Maryland head coach Michael Locksley shakes hands with Syracuse head coach Dino Babers after an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Sept. 7, 2019, in College Park, Md. (AP Photo/Will Newton)

No. 1 Clemson (2-0, 1-0 ACC) at Syracuse (1-1, 0-0), Saturday at 7:30 p.m. EDT (ABC).

Line: Clemson by 28.

Series record: Clemson leads 5-2.

WHAT’S AT STAKE?

Clemson has won 17 straight games, the longest winning streak in the nation, as it chases a second straight national championship and third in four years. A loss in a conference with only one other ranked team (No. 25 Virginia) would place a big obstacle in that quest.

Syracuse needs to recover from a 63-20 shellacking at Maryland last week, which knocked the Orange out of the AP Top 25. A win would give the Orange an early upper hand over the Tigers in the ACC’s Atlantic Division and give the Syracuse faithful renewed confidence in the team.

KEY MATCHUP

The Syracuse defense vs. the Clemson offense. The Orange were torched for 650 yards last week against Maryland, giving up six TDs in the first half. Clemson has scored 76 points in convincing wins over Georgia Tech and then-No. 12 Texas A&M to start the season. The Tigers have been positive in the turnover margin in five straight games dating back to last season and have played five turnover-free games since 2018. Another would snap Syracuse’s streak of 16 consecutive games with a takeaway, the third-longest streak in the country.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Clemson: RB Travis Etienne. Last year Etienne averaged 8.13 yards per carry and a touchdown every 8.5 carries and this season he’s rushed for 258 yards and scored three TDs. Etienne rushed for 203 yards last fall against Syracuse and his 2-yard scoring run in the final minute won the game.

Syracuse: WR Trishton Jackson. The Michigan State transfer was electric in last week’s loss to Maryland, catching two TD passes and finishing with 157 yards receiving. He regularly found space against the Maryland secondary as the Orange attack behind redshirt sophomore QB Tommy DeVito showed signs of improvement.

FACTS & FIGURES

Syracuse will retire all-time sacks leader Tim Green’s jersey at halftime, and the 60th anniversary of the school’s 1959 national championship team will also be celebrated. … Saturday’s game marks the 10th time the Orange will face the reigning national champion since the inception of the AP poll in 1936. The Orange are 3-6 in those games, including a win over Clemson. … The Tigers have won 19 of their last 20 road games, the only loss in that span to Syracuse two years ago.

___

More AP college football: https://apnews.com/tag/Collegefootball and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25