Things didn’t go quite as planned after the first three plays of the game, as Clemson drew first blood with a 60 yard bomb from quarterback Tajh Boyd to receiver Adam Humphries, who finished with 118 receiving yards and two touchdowns as the Tigers rolled past the Orange 49-14.
The Tigers quickly established themselves as the better team, ignoring the references to the 1996 41-0 blowout that Syracuse handed them in the Gator Bowl with Donovan McNabb and Marvin Harrison. Clemson quickly established a 21-0 lead before the Orange got on the board, thanks to a 66-yard touchdown run by Jerome Smith.
On the day, Clemson finished with 624 total yards of offense, with Boyd tying a career high for touchdown passes with five, while throwing for a career high 455 passing yards to scorch the Orange in the Carrier Dome. Receiver Sammy Watkins, despite suffering a hip injury, led all receivers with 126 receiving yards and a touchdown, while Humphries had one of the best games of his career with two long touchdown catches of 60 and 40 yards.
Running back Zac Brooks had nine carriers for 46 yards and a touchdown to lead the Tigers on the ground, while CJ Davidson and Rod McDowell both rushed for 41 yards, with Davidson rushing for the Tigers’ final touchdown.
Meanwhile, the Tigers’ defense held the Orange to 14 points, but allowed 323 rushing yards on the ground, but held quarterback Terell Smith‘s passing game in check, holding him to 74 passing yards and three interceptions. Vic Beasley, Shaq Lawson and Grady Jarrett were disruptive along the defensive line and kept the offensive line under wraps for most of the afternoon in the passing game.
With the win, the Tigers move to 5-0 overall with an ACC record of 3-0. The Tigers return to Death Valley for the next two weeks to face off against the Boston College Eagles and the Florida State Seminoles.