Clemson Syracuse Football

Syracuse kicker Cole Murphy (48) reacts to his go-ahead field goal during the second half against Clemson Friday night in Syracuse, N.Y. Syracuse upset No. 2 Clemson 27-24.


SYRACUSE -- Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney made quite the impression on the Syracuse team following the Orange’s 27-24 victory over the second-ranked Tigers.

During the postgame meeting between the two coaches, Swinney told Syracuse head coach Dino Babers numerous times, “I’m so happy for you.”

But Swinney didn’t stop there.

Before he met with his players, Swinney made a stop by the Syracuse locker room to congratulate the Syracuse team on their historic victory.

“That’s one of the classiest things I’ve seen in my life,” Syracuse cornerback Zaire Franklin said. “To have been knocked down like that and have the humility to come talk to us — that was cool as hell.”

Those sentiments were shared by defensive lineman Kayton Samuels, who said on Twitter: “Dabo just solidified my respect for him. Came in our locker room, shook our hands and congratulated us. WOW. That’s a dude right there.”

Johnson was never No. 2

When the Clemson depth chart was released prior to the Syracuse game, there was an interesting word on the paper next to the quarterbacks — “or.”

The depth chart read that Kelly Bryant, Zerrick Cooper and Hunter Johnson — in alphabetical order — with an “or” placed between each name, meaning that any of the three could possibly be the starter or the backup with Bryant’s status in doubt at the time of the publication.

But there was one player who was never first or even second on the depth chart, true freshman Hunter Johnson.

“Zerrick is the second guy,” Swinney said following the Tigers’ loss to Syracuse. “He’s been the second guy. I actually thought Zerrick played pretty good. He did some good things, but we didn’t help him in a couple of situations. We had a couple of missed assignments and we will evaluate and move forward.

Zach Lentz is a Clemson University alumnus who got his start working with the Tigers basketball team from 1999-2004. Now a resident of Orangeburg County, he reports on Clemson sports as a correspondent for The Times and Democrat.


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