Coming off a game against Louisville that can only be described as a demolition of historical proportions, Clemson traveled to Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts to take on the Boston College Eagles with the ACC Atlantic Division title on the line. ESPN College Football Gameday was on hand and two of its prognosticators picked BC to pull off the upset of the second-ranked orange-britches-wearing Tigers.
BC won the toss and deferred. Derion Kendrick took the short kickoff out to the 29. Trevor Lawrence gained 4 with his legs on 1st down. Travis Etienne took it on 2nd down and moved the chains. On the next play, Lawrence pumped and then hit Amari Rodgers for 41 yards. Etienne moved it down to the BC 12 with a couple of runs to set up 3rd & 4. The blitz pressured Lawrence and he couldn’t connect with Tee Higgins. The Tigers settled for 3 points off the leg of Greg Heugel.
B.T. Potter appeared to have his mojo back and kicked it well into the end zone to put the BC offense at the 25. The Eagles got a first down with a couple of runs and a WR screen, but then the Tiger defense forced a 3rd & 10. Christian Wilkins got to the BC QB and forced him to throw it away. Wilkins planted every bit of his 300+ pounds into the QB as he drove him to to the ground. He looked to be in quite a bit of pain and would not return to the game. Rodgers took the punt but the coverage was good. The Tigers would start on their 13.
Lawrence hit Hunter Renfrow for 11 yards to start the drive. An Etienne run and a screen to Renfrow didn’t net much but on 3rd & 7 BC jumped offside. But on 3rd & 2 a corner blitz got to Lawrence. Fortunately for the Tigers, they had a false start and the sack didn’t count. The pressure got to Lawrence again and they had to punt. Will Spiers waited and waited to launch a rugby style kick. BC picked it up and ran it back against truly awful coverage by Clemson. The BC crowd was electrified and the score was 7-3 BC. Kendrick took the kickoff back to the 25. Lawrence hit Higgins on a slant for 7 to start the drive. Rodgers moved the chains with an end around. On 2nd & 8, Higgins had a monster catch down to the BC 21. Rodgers then took a WR screen that the BC defender jumped and just barely missed. It was 1st & goal from the 7. Lawrence kept it on a wide run but didn’t gain anything. Etienne took a swing pass down to the 4. An Etienne run got it down to the 2, setting up 4th and goal. In came the Heavy Package. Lawrence faked it to Wilkins, and then hit TE Milan Richard in the back of the end zone. A bit before that play, I had been thinking that the Tigers could really use a playmaking TE against this BC defense. Clemson was back on top 10-3.
BC had another good return but BC committed a block in the back and the ball came back to the BC 10. With their backup QB leading the offense, they went to their RB A.J. Dillon and despite a good 2nd down run, they couldn’t get a 1st down and punted. Rodgers make the fair catch at the Tiger 38. On 3rd and 8, Lawrence hit Kendrick who ran it down to the BC 28. Etienne took it down to the 12. Adam Choice gained a couple of yards on 1st down. Etienne powered his way down to the 6 to set up 3rd and 4. No one was open, so Lawrence just threw it away. Heugel put the FG through to make the score 13-7.
After the kickoff, BC started at their 23. On 2nd down, BC tried some trickeration with an attempted reverse pass, but the Tigers sniffed it out and the BC player was called for grounding when he threw the ball out of bounds. They couldn’t convert and punted it down to the Tiger 28. A Renfrow catch set up 3rd and 2 on the Tiger drive, but Etienne could only get 1 and the Tigers had to punt. BC took over at the 30.
BC continued to feed the ball to Dillon and on 3rd down, a QB run moved the chains. BC hit a nice slant but on the next play the snap went over the QB’s head for a 32-yard loss. The Tiger defense then got a sack and it was 3rd and 47. Then it was 4th and 49. On the punt, the BC defender clearly hit Rodgers who had called a fair catch but no flag was thrown. They couldn’t review it and BC was given a huge gift. Dillon tried to go wide on 1st down and the defensive pursuit was good but BC had a holding penalty. Two incomplete passes later, BC was at 4th & 15. The punt went out of bounds at the Tiger 10.
Higgins got 8 on a slant and then Lawrence threw deep to Kendrick but the BC defender made a nice play to knock it away. A shovel pass to Etienne converted the 3rd and 2 out to the 27. Higgins made a nice sliding catch on a back shoulder fade. Lawrence was launching it down the field and had receivers open, but was just overthrowing them. On 3rd and 6, Justyn Ross caught a nicely thrown pass over the middle to move down to the BC 41. Rodgers got another 5 yards but then Lawrence was sacked and was barely able to spike the ball to set up a final play with 1 second left. The throw to the end zone fell incomplete and halftime came with the Tigers up 13-7.
Potter’s 2nd half kickoff only went to the 4 and BC brought it out to the 23. The Tiger defense gave nothing and BC punted. Rodgers returned it to the Tiger 36. On 1st down Etienne went beast mode, breaking tackles down to the BC 39. Renfrow then caught a pass on a post route down to the 6. Lawrence then kept it on an option and walked into the end zone. Clemson had a 20-7 lead. Potter put the ensuing kickoff into the end zone. BC didn’t do much with their drive. They had a backup QB and A.J. Dillon, and the Tigers were zeroed in on Dillon. They punted it down to the Tiger 17.
Lawrence had a 3-yard run on 1st down and then he made a freshman mistake and caught a deflected pass for a big loss, instead of just knocking it down. On 4th and 13, the Tigers punted but it only went out to the Tiger 48. BC moved down to the 35, and then Isaiah Simmons got a sack. BC got to 4th and 4 but they couldn’t convert on an out route to their TE.
Lawrence rolled left and hit Renfrow for 14 on 1st down then Feaster got 8 yards up the middle. Then the Tiger O-Line missed and assignment and Feaster was dropped for a loss. Lawrence ran a draw but slid too early to get the 1st down. Clemson punted down to the BC 21. BC got a 1st down but on 3rd and 11, Clelin Ferrell got the sack. BC punted and the Tigers got the ball at their 39.
Lawrence hit Rodgers for 8 on 2nd down after Adam Choice was tymied on 1st down for no gain. At the end of the 3rd quarter, Clemson led 20-7. Starting the 4th quarter with 3rd and 2, Lawrence hit Renrow for the 1st down. The Tigers got to 3rd and 19 after a holding penalty. Lawrence’s pass was tipped at the line and the Tigers had to punt. BC would start from their 12. The Tiger defense would feast and force the Eagles to punt. Rodgers took the punt, was patient as blocks set up and took it to the house. Clemson led 27-7.
On 2nd down LB Kendall Joseph got his hands on a pass but it bounced up and a BC receiver caught it. Later, a bad snap put BC at 4th & 11. The punt went into the end zone with 9:20 left. Lawrence kept it on an option but lost 5 yards. A dropped pass on 2nd led to 3rd & 15. A draw to Etienne only got 13 and Clemson had to punt. The Tigers had good coverage and tackled the Eagle returner at the 26.
Joseph blitzed and was untouched to the QB for the sack. It didn’t get any better for the Eagle offense and they punted. Clemson started at the 27. On 3rd down, Lawrence rolled left and fired the ball to Kendrick on the sideline but it fell incomplete. BC had committed pass interference, however, giving Clemson a 1st down. Diondre Overton made a nice catch and run to move down to the Eagle 38. Lawrence then floated a throw towards Rodgers and the BC defender came down with it.
BC hit a 25-yard slant to go to the 34. A false start and incomplete passes got BC to 3rd and 15. They couldn’t convert and punted. Rodgers returned it to the Tiger 24. On 1st down, Choice rumbled for 12 yards. Lyn-J Dixon got loose up the middle for 20 yards down to the BC 40 with about a minute left. That was about it, and the Tigers wrapped up another Atlantic Division title.
The Tigers had a strong performance tonight but one concern is the health status of left OT Mitch Hyatt who left the game with what appeared to be a left shoulder injury. Check back with us at STS over the next few days for reviews, injury updates and previews of next week’s game against Duke in Death Valley. Let’s hear your comments on tonight’s game in the comments section below.