Being an unranked team and losing on the road to a top 3 opponent after having a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter is a very underrated way to lose a football game.
Largely because of the fact that it does not happen that often, but still.
Well, the Syracuse Orange experienced just that in their week five matchup against the Clemson Tigers.
This was a game that had the potential to make for a memorable Saturday afternoon and it did just that. It would also serve as a great mark to measure just how much Syracuse has improved.
Of course, Syracuse had upset the then No. 2 Tigers last season, but that was in the Dome and this year was in Death Valley.
The Orange had undoubtedly showed up to play.
Despite that, it was certainly not their best game.
Quarterback Eric Dungey did have a pretty decent passing line going 26-for-41 with 250 yards. But he was rendered ineffective in the run game by the outstanding Clemson defensive line, gaining only 11 yards on 13 attempts. He did however have two rushing touchdowns.
It was important for Clemson to keep the usually versatile Dungey limited in what he could do with the ball in his hand. And although they only had one sack (that resulted from a Orange lineman being caught off guard by the snap), they still applied much pressure to Dungey in the pass game.
As for the Clemson quarterback situation, this game was definitely a rocky road. True freshman Trevor Lawrence made his first start since the recent departure of former starting quarterback Kelly Bryant. He did pretty well completing 10 out of 15 passes for 93 yards. However, after taking a rough hit to the head when scrambling on a play in the second quarter and would not return.
That put the game in the hand of fellow true freshman Chase Brice, who was number six on the depth chart back in January.
Brice did a sufficient enough job going 7-for-13 passing with 83 yards and making some key completions down the stretch.
But the real stars of the game were the Tigers running backs.
They gained a total of 305 yards with sophomore Travis Etienne leading way with 203 yards and 3 touchdowns. Senior Adam Choice and junior Travis Feaster each had nine carries for 58 and 44 yards respectively. The Syracuse defense had plenty of trouble tackling the trio all game and can arguably be credited with their downfall.
Despite losing in a rather heartbreaking fashion, Dino Babers and his team can still hold their heads high as they gained some much-deserved respect throughout the sport. Their remaining schedule looks favorable with another huge upset opportunity coming in mid-November against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in Yankee Stadium.