Clemson Football picked up it’s first win in Atlantic Coast Conference play on Saturday against the Syracuse Orange 31-14.
Cade Klubnik had a good day with 263 yards passing, two touchdown passes and no interceptions. Beaux Collins had one of those touchdown catches on a big 47-yard bomb. Phil Mafah broke a 32-yard run to score the final touchdown for the Tigers.
Defensively, Jeremiah Trotter set up Mafah’s run with a clutch interception, and tied with Barrett Carter to lead the team with 7 tackles each. Ruke Orhorhoro had a sack. Trotter, Carter, Justin Mascoll and Tyler Davis each had half a sack. Xavier Thomas picked up a fumble and returned it inside Syracuse’s 5-yard line.
The people who we expected to be contributors this season did their part today, but there are some players who we just didn’t think would be big contributors that are stepping up. These players are the most pleasant surprises for the Tigers right now.
I want to start with Troy Stellato. He spent the majority of the 2021 and 2022 seasons on the injured list and didn’t play. When I heard he was hurt again this fall, in my mind that was it: Stellato was never going to play for this team. I figured he was done.
He proved me wrong and took the field against Charleston Southern and made an impact. Today in Syracuse, he had four receptions for 37 yards. He caught Clemson’s first touchdown today, the first in his career. He has been a solid contributor this season and I am very glad I was wrong.
Young and/or inexperienced players are stepping up for Clemson Football
On the defensive side, there was concern about the defensive end position. We all thought Thomas could be great if everything came together. I simply hoped Mascoll could be an experienced head who wasn’t a liability.
I knew TJ Parker was going to be very good one day, I just didn’t realize it was going to be this season. He has been very good in relief of Thomas and Mascoll. He had two sacks today on consecutive plays to push the Orange from a 1st and 10 into a 3rd and 21. He had five tackles on the day.
Stellato and Parker have been very pleasant surprises, but they weren’t the most pleasant of all.
Tyler Brown was phenomenal today with 9 receptions and 153 yards. He picked up key first downs and kept drives moving when the offense needed the production. He didn’t find the end zone but if they handed out assists in college football for scores, he would have had a few today.
Any team that wants to have a good season needs both veterans who lead by example and young players who step up, and we saw a nice mix of the two today.