Eric Dungey threw for 278 yards and three touchdowns, Cole Murphy kicked a tiebreaking field goal in the fourth quarter, and Syracuse stunned No. 2 Clemson 27-24 on Friday night to put a damper on the Tigers' chances to repeat as national champions.
Clemson (6-1, 4-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) had won 12 consecutive games on the opponent's home field, the longest streak in Clemson history and tied for the second longest active streak in the nation. Clemson also had won 11 consecutive games overall, the longest active winning streak in the nation, and 12 straight away from home against ACC teams. Clemson lost its last road game of 2014 at Georgia Tech.
The Orange (4-3, 2-1) are 3-6 against the previous year's national champion, also beating Penn State in 1987 and Michigan in 1998.
The Tigers took a big blow when quarterback Kelly Bryant suffered a concussion in the final minute of the first half. He was knocked down hard by defensive tackle Chris Slayton and lay on the turf for a couple of minutes before being helped to the locker room. Slowed after spraining his left ankle last week in the Tigers' victory over Wake Forest, Bryant passed for 116 yards and ran for minus-8 yards.
Bryant, who watched the second half from the sideline, entered the game averaging 277 yards of total offense, but noticeably favored an injured ankle as Syracuse gained a surprising 17-14 halftime lead.Zerrick Cooper replaced Bryant to start the second half and guided the Tigers to a tying field goal.
The Tigers tried a trick play with time winding down, but Will Spiers threw an incompletion on a fake punt.
Dungey hit Dontae Strickland for a 23-yard score to open the game and also hit Ervin Philips for 66 yards in the first quarter and Steve Ishmael for 30 in the third to break a 17-17 tie.
Syracuse used big plays to stun the Tigers, hitting six of 20 yards or more as the Orange outgained Clemson 440-317. And the Orange defense limited the Tigers to 2 of 11 on third down, none more critical than Cooper's overthrow on third down before the fake.
The Orange responded quickly as the Carrier Dome crowd rocked the building with raucous cheers of `Let's Go Orange!' Dungey raced 45 yards down the left side and hit Ishmael on the next play for a 30-yard scoring pass.
Not to be outdone, the Tigers scored in 56 seconds on Travis Etienne's 52-yard run to tie it at 24.
The Orange defense took a page out of Clemson's playbook. The Tigers were among just three teams in the nation averaging at least 230 yards rushing and 230 yards passing (Ohio State and Oregon are the others). The Tigers managed just 39 yards rushing in the first half and 113 total.
The Tigers scored in just 67 seconds on their first possession, with Tavien Feaster capping a three-play drive with a 37-yard run untouched up the middle of the Orange defense. But the Orange defense arose to the occasion from that point on.
In Clemson's first six games, no team had scored more than seven points against the Tigers through three periods. Opponents were averaging 4.3 points, 9.7 first downs, 71 yards rushing, 105 passing yards and 176 yards in total offense through three quarters. Syracuse had eight first downs and 152 yards in the first quarter alone, 100 through the air and outgained the Tigers 270-155 in the first half.
The Clemson defense finally asserted itself midway through the second quarter, forcing a fumble by Strickland that Tanner Muse scooped up and raced 63 yards untouched down the right side to tie it at 14-14.
California stuns No. 8 Washington State 37-3
Ross Bowers did an acrobatic flip into the end zone to cap a touchdown run for California and the Golden Bears used a dominant defensive performance to stun No. 8 Washington State 37-3 Friday night for their first win in 14 years against a top 10 team.
Camryn Bynum had two of California's five interceptions against Luke Falk, and the Bears (4-3, 1-3 Pac-12) used seven turnovers and nine sacks to top the Cougars (6-1, 3-1) for a signature win under first-year coach Justin Wilcox.
Cal was just 1-52-1 against top 10 teams since 1978 with the only win coming over No. 3 Southern California in 2003 before breaking through against mistake-prone Washington State.
The Bears used short fields on their first four scoring drives before Bowers delivered the highlight of the night with his touchdown run early in the fourth that left the crowd gasping in amazement.
Bowers, whose mother used to be the gymnastics coach at Washington, scrambled and then leaped off two feet from just outside the 2. He did a front flip over Justus Rogers and fell in the end zone following the 7-yard run that made it 27-3.
The game was played in smoky conditions because of the wine country fires that had killed at least 35 people and destroyed at least 5,700 homes and businesses about 50 miles north of Cal's campus.
The tone for this game was set when Falk was intercepted on Washington State's third play from scrimmage, setting up a field goal by Matt Anderson.
The Cougars committed three turnovers in the first half, missed a field goal and had a 1-yard punt in the final minute of the half. That short punt set up a 45-yard TD drive for the Bears, who scored on the final play of the half when Bowers threw a 2-yard pass to Kyle Wells to make it 17-3.
The touchdown came one play after a female fan ran on the field holding a pink, stuffed pig and had to be dragged off by security.