Two Orange Teams are colliding on Military Appreciation Day, which is my favorite game each year at Memorial Stadium. As per tradition, Clemson is wearing all purple in honor of this celebration and Syracuse is wearing white tops with navy pants.

This is also the first 3:30 kickoff for Clemson this year because they have played five night games and two noon games. Syracuse is 4-4 overall and is 2-2 in conference play with an impressive win over the Coastal division leaders Virginia Tech.

Like usual, this game depends on how Clemson plays and not how Syracuse plays. If the Tigers commit four or five turnovers, this could be a tight game. If the Tigers don’t turn the ball over and make touchdowns in the red zone then Clemson should take care of business.

Syracuse runs the Art Briles Baylor version of the Air Raid offense and he has had success everywhere he went. He tutored Jimmy Garroppolo as the head coach of Eastern Illinois, the second round pick of the Patriots and backup for Tom Brady. He then impressed as the head coach of Bowling Green before taking over at Syracuse this year.

Syracuse is a young team that is starting five freshmen and eight sophomores, with one upperclassman starting on the offensive line and none on the defensive line. One important defensive note is that Syracuse is ninth in the nation with a 0.704 redzone percentage, which could cause problems if the Tigers continue their red zone woes.

Syracuse is also one of the fastest teams in the nation at 84 snaps per game, which is eighth in the nation. Syracuse has two players with sixty catches and another player with 41 catches, meaning that the Tigers cannot key in on one playmaker. Quarterback Eric Dungy and running back Dontae Strickland will run the ball about equally, but the primary focus of this Orange team is passing as much as possible.

If the Tigers keyed in on one offensive player, it would be the graduate transfer (from Maryland) wide receiver Amba Etta-Tawo (#7). Etta-Tawo is the player that draftniks are paying the most attention to and their opinions are mixed so far. He is fourth in the nation in receiving yardage and is having one of the best seasons for a pass catcher in Syracuse history.

Clemson’s defense can handle any challenge as it has shown time and time again, but they could wear out due to fatigue at the end. This means that the Tigers will need to have a solid lead built up in case that happens, and the Tigers will have to win the run blocking battle and finish the game off. Prediction: Clemson 38 Syracuse 24