On the Beat: Dabo Swinney makes a point to congratulate Syracuse players in locker room, visits Alabama on Saturday
CLEMSON — The cameras likely did not catch it and Dabo Swinney did not say a word about it himself.
But when it was all said and done Saturday night, Clemson’s head coach weaved his way through the Carrier Dome, sought out the Syracuse locker room and walked in. He wanted to congratulate the Orange players first hand. Despite his No. 2 Clemson team losing 27-24 and despite it being close to midnight before the Tigers boarded a plane home, Swinney made it a priority to make one final pit stop.
“He came in and congratulated us, just saying, ‘Great win,’ and that was probably one of the most class-act things I’ve ever seen,” Syracuse linebacker Zaire Franklin said, according to ESPN.
Franklin also told ESPN that Swinney singled out wide receiver Steve Ishmael to tell him how impressed he was by the nation’s leader in receiving yards and even snapped a few photos with those wanting one.
“Dabo just solidified my respect for him,” redshirt junior defensive lineman Kayton Samuels later wrote from his personal Twitter account. “Came in our locker room, shook our hands and congratulated us. WOW. That’s a dude right there.”
Swinney at Alabama
It was a late night for Swinney, who arrived back in South Carolina in the wee hours of Saturday morning before he hit the road again to Alabama Saturday afternoon. For its Saturday night game with Arkansas, Alabama invited back its 1992 national championship football team to celebrate, of which Swinney was a member. The occasion was to commemorate the win from 25 years ago and Swinney was seen sporting neutral colors as he flashed his token grin and hugged former players and coaches, including Gene Stallings. Despite Swinney being the coach that knocked off perennial Alabama in the 2016 national title, when he was introduced, Swinney was on the receiving end of a thunderous ovation.
Streaks now over
With Clemson’s 27-24 loss to the Orange, several streaks came to an end for the Tigers, including the following:
- Clemson had the longest active winning streak in the nation with 11 consecutive victories. That streak now belongs to South Florida, who has won 10 in a row.
- Clemson had won 12 straight games on the opponent’s home field. A win against Syracuse would have been No. 13, which would have tied Oklahoma for the nation’s best mark.
- Clemson had won 20 times in a row against an ACC Atlantic Division opponent before Friday.