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Syracuse has to regroup fast; No. 1 Clemson coming to town

Maryland Terrapins linebacker Keandre Jones (4) forces Syracuse Orange quarterback Tommy DeVito (13) to fumble during the first half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Sept. 7, 2019, in College Park, Md. (AP Photo/Will Newton)

Oh what could have been, the sight of ESPN's College Gameday outside the Carrier Dome in Syracuse on Saturday morning before the Clemson game.

Hundreds of Syracuse University students and fans holding up witty signs aiming to get on television. What notable SU alum would be onstage to tout the Orange?

The vision of Lee Corso putting on Otto's orange head while picking Syracuse to upset the top-ranked Tigers would have been one that Orange fans would have cherished.

But as we know, that's not going to happen since Syracuse lost to Maryland in a blowout last weekend, dropping them out of the Top 25 with a thud. Instead, College Gameday will be going to Ames, Iowa for that "hot" Iowa-Iowa State match-up. Indulge me some sarcasm, I think even a 1-1 Syracuse team was worthy of getting some national attention.

If the Orange want to get back into the Top 25, all they have to do is something they did two years ago and almost did last year: Beat Clemson. Easier said than done obviously.

As much as Syracuse fans would have loved to see their team 2-0 facing the defending national champions, maybe not only losing to Maryland but in the way they lost, a pride-swallowing blowout, might actually be a good thing.

Getting run over by the Terps, a team that has been a Big 10 doormat the last few years, had to have sent the Orange back to earth.

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The Orange have tasted defeat and it did not taste good. The Orange want to prove last week was a fluke, that they're the team that went 10-3 last season, not the one that went 4-8 in 2017.

Of course, 2017 was when Syracuse shocked the college football world when they upset then No. 2 Clemson. Fans thought the Orange were back then, only to see their team lose the next five to end the season.

So Syracuse will find out if being the long-shot underdog suits them better. It will be interesting to see what adjustments Syracuse coach Dino Babers makes. Last week, the Terrapins ran all over the Orange, more than 350 yards and almost 8 yards per carry. A lot of it came because of poor tackling. Clemson is averaging 266 yards a game on the ground. If Babers can't get his defense to wrap up, it's going to be a long night.

First-year starting quarterback Tommy DeVito had a decent game against Maryland, after the blowout was underway. His two early turnovers (a fumble and an interception) fueled the rout. Obviously, DeVito has to do a better job taking care of the ball against Clemson.

Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence is already being talked about as a No. 1 overall NFL draft pick in a couple of years. He's been solid so far with two TD passes and three interceptions in the first two games.

The Carrier Dome is expected to be sold out Saturday night so it should be loud and the crowd should get the Orange pumped up and disrupt Clemson on offense. If DeVito can step up and the run defense is better, there's no reason why Syracuse can't pull off the upset of Clemson for the second time in three years and find itself back in the national rankings next week.

That's a big if though. 

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Sciria, The Citizen's assistant news editor, can be reached at chris.sciria@lee.net or on Twitter @csciria

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