Syracuse looking to prevent Clemson from ‘beating them twice’ against Western Michigan

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Comments Dino Babers admitted that during his team’s 41-6 loss to Clemson, there were some exciting parts of Saturday’s game. And through three quarters, his team played well. There were too many parts of the game that weren’t so exciting for Syracuse (1-2, 0-1 Atlantic Coast), however, that took the Orange out of the contest. Following a loss to the Tigers for the second-straight year, Babers’ message to his team is the same as 2018’s defeat.“It happened last year,” Babers said on Monday. “Clemson can beat you once, but don’t let Clemson beat you twice.”The fourth-year head coach was describing the Orange’s overtime loss to unranked Pittsburgh last season, in the game immediately following their 27-23 loss to the  Tigers. Syracuse lost to the Panthers because of a hangover of sorts following its heartbreaking loss to Clemson, Babers suggests.He’s hoping to prevent that sort of let down this season when Western Michigan (2-1) visits the Carrier Dome for the first time in program history on Saturday. The two teams faced off in last year’s season-opener in Kalamazoo, when an early SU lead turned into a high-scoring affair. Three rushing touchdowns by the Orange pushed them out to a 34-7 lead at halftime, but 21 unanswered points by the Broncos closed the gap to six points 10 minutes into the second half. AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“Two different halves, one half our way, one half their way,” Babers said of last year’s matchup with WMU. “I’m looking forward to playing them once again knowing that coach (Tim) Lester knows a lot about this place and there’s 4-5 guys left on this team that were here when he was here.”Lester served as SU’s quarterbacks coach in 2013 and its offensive coordinator from 2014-2015 on Scott Shafer’s coaching staff and has Western Michigan’s offense firing on all cylinders after a 57-10 win over Georgia State on Saturday. The victory featured a school-record seven rushing touchdowns by the Broncos, who are 25th in the country in scoring offense. That doesn’t bode well for the Orange defense, which is 10th-worst in the country in stopping the run. While SU did show signs of improvement defensively versus Clemson, its offense still struggled to move the ball consistently. Babers chalked the struggles up to too many inconsistencies and breakdowns at times when Syracuse could least afford them, but believes that the Orange’s offense is close to figuring it out. “I don’t think we’re that far off, once again,” Babers said. “The guys we were playing were really good…Our defense I thought did a nice job, our special teams did a nice job. We didn’t score enough points.”He suggested that the passing game’s issues so far this season have directly affected the play of the running backs, who combined for three touchdowns in Syracuse’s season opener against Liberty. Since the win over the Flames, the Orange have rushed for a combined 85 net rushing yards with a long run of 13 yards and no scores. Opposing teams are taking away SU’s running game because they don’t believe the passing game can beat them, and that’s proved to be a successful strategy versus Syracuse thus far. Against a Western Michigan team that will likely employ its same strategy from last year, nearly taking down the Orange last season, Babers is wary of the potential for an upset.“They proved last year that they’re capable of scoring points and they can get us into a shootout,” Babers said. “And they’re not afraid of us…we expect a very hungry opponent that can beat us, and we better come ready to go.”Injury notesBabers said that starting cornerback Ifeatu Melifonwu left Saturday’s game with an “owie” and hasn’t had an opportunity to find out the details of it, but hopes Melifonwu will be ready to go versus WMU.Center Sam Heckel, who started SU’s season-opener before getting injured and missing the next two games, will probably be in the same situation (a game-time decision) as he was versus Clemson.Babers was awaiting word later in the day on Monday on the status of defensive lineman McKinley Williams, who has missed all three games this season with a leg injury.center_img Published on September 16, 2019 at 3:54 pm Contact Eric: [email protected] | @esblack34last_img

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *