Babers Expecting ‘Championship-Caliber’ Clemson Team to Show Up at Syracuse

Clemson travels to Syracuse this weekend to face off with the undefeated Orange.

While Dabo Swinney’s Tigers might be coming in at just 2-2 and 0-2 in ACC play, Babers isn’t buying into any narratives that this Clemson team has somehow slipped back into the ranks of mediocrity. In fact, he thinks this version of the Tigers is still really good.

“Yeah, I think they’re still a championship-caliber team,” Babers said. I mean, they were, I don’t know, 6-12 inches from winning the game this week (against Florida State). They beat them in every statistical category. They beat Duke statistically in every category. This is what they are. This is a championship, big-time football team coming in here.”

Part of what makes this Clemson team so dangerous, according to Babers, is quarterback Cade Klubnik, who has proven to fearless over the first four weeks of the season.

If you watched the Florida State game, he’s throwing BBs. He’s throwing dimes,” he said. You look at the yardage, look at the completion (percentage) that he did against Florida State and they were playing numerous coverages against him and it didn’t matter. There was a play in the Florida State game where, I mean he knows he’s about to get hit. And he just holds it, holds it, holds it, lets it go, gets hit. And it looks like it was a dig combination and I mean you could just see his eyes, the cameras were perfect where you could see his eyes, and he didn’t flinch a lick. And when you got guys that will stand in there and hold the ball to the very last second before they pull trigger on it to let the receiver get a little bit more open, that’s when you know those guys are special.”

Despite having beaten Clemson just once since joining the ACC, Syracuse has routinely been a thorn in the side of Swinney’s Tigers. Four of the past six games have been decided by six points or less, including the big upset the Orange pulled off back in 2017.

With how close the games have been in recent seasons, Babers knows he won’t have to find the right buttons to push to get his players motivated.

“I think the team has exactly the right attitude. We look at everything (as trying to go) 1-0. When we had our meeting in here Sunday, the coaches will lay out the game plan, we will do actually almost nothing when it comes to motivation this week.

“They enjoy playing this team, and we always get the best out of that team when we play them. The biggest thing is for the guys in here that (have) never played before and for those guys to figure it out this week that they need to step up their game because they’re playing one of the top teams in the conference.”

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