CLEMSON, SOUTH CAROLINA — The Clemson Tigers returned to their winning ways in a crucial divisional matchup against Boston College.
The Eagles, led by QB Dennis Grosel, entered the day at 4-0 and as one of only two remaining undefeated teams in the ACC (Wake Forest being the other). BC held the house down defensively by limiting Clemson to 19 points, but a crucial stop by the Tiger defense saved the day in the waning stages of the game.
A third straight defensive battle left some questions for the Tigers though, including how does the offensive improve and who are the key playmakers supposed to be. The answer to the latter appeared to Will Shipley, but now he’s gone for a few weeks. Clemson’s wide receiver core, which had at least one decent performance from both Justyn Ross and Joseph Ngata, is still inconsistent. Of course, D.J. Uiagelelei still has a lot of improving to do before any talk of a Heisman comes running his way (next year, that is).
Clemson Tigers Offensive Player of the Week: RB Kobe Pace
Another underclassmen found himself as the king of the Tigers offense in light of Will Shipley’s injury last week. Sophomore running back Kobe Pace carried the rock 19 times for 125 yards, setting his team up with with its only TD of the game thanks to a 59 yard run down the sideline. He has totaled 39 touches and 218 yards thus far into 2021.
Among his other top colleagues were Joseph Ngata, who produced arguably his best performance since week one with four recptions for 11 yards and Phil Mafah, one of the other freshmen backs who tallied his first stats — seven receptions for 58 yards — in a Tigers uniform.
Pace also joined in on the receiving fun himself with two of his own for 40+.
Clemson Tigers Defensive Player of the Week: S Nolan Turner
Per usual, Clemson’s defense received a balanced effort all around. Andrew Booth Jr. led his team in tackles with eight (including seven solo), Baylon Spector in sacks (1.5), and Nolan Turner and R.J. Mickens both produced an interception.
Turner, who qualifies as one of the more reliable guys in the secondary, also recorded seven tackles overall. His big play would later set up Clemson at the 50 and in position to score three points.
Clemson Tigers Special Teams Player of the Week: K B.T. Potter
In perhaps his first meaningful performance of the 2021 season, Tigers kicker B.T. Potter found the middle of the uprights for four crucial field goals to help elevate his team to victory. The senior went 4-4 on the day with one made kick inside the 20, another inside the 30, and two from over 40. All four of his knock throughs came after the first quarter as the Tigers offense failed to find the endzone in the final 52 minutes of the game. He now stands at 5-for-6 on the season for Clemson kicks and is responsible for 28 of the team’s points,
Other notable names on special teams including this series’ most usual suspect, Will Spiers, who also aided in the kicking game for five punts and 208 yards. Kobe Pace made some noise on kickoffs thanks to a pair of returns including one for 24.
Boston College Eagles Player of the Week: TE Trae Barry
For the second straight week, (well, actually every game, really) Clemson’s defense held its own for nearly all of regulation. The Tigers shut down the visiting Eagles in light of a performance that saw BC quarterback Dennis Grosel throw two interceptions and zero touchdowns. He also managed to produce -37 rush yards, and Nolan Turner and co. kept the house down for a much earned victory.
The only two major peeps from BC’s attack came from running back Pat Garwo III and TE Trae Barry, who both earned 50-plus yards in their respective categories. Garwo III scored the touchdown, but Barry wins the nod due his team high in yardage at 82 on seven tallied catches. He leaves Clemson coming off of the biggest game of his career so far.
With their Saturday night win against Boston College, Clemson improves to 3-2 and third in the ACC Atlantic standings. The Tigers undoubtedly earned their best victory of the 2021 season. That being said, there is a certainly a mix of both good and bad news in the aftermath of said victory.
The bad news: The Tigers still failed to give us much evidence of an improving offense.
The good news: The team’s most challenging slate of the season is over.
After facing back to back duels against NC State and Boston College, Clemson receives an open date and what likely is a gimme game a week later at Syracuse. There is a sneaky matchup the following the Orange against Pitt, but an easy start to October (for the most part) should aid the Tigers in being regenerated for their first trip to Heinz field in program history.
The main question for the Friday night game against Syracuse is whether Clemson will find a newly revitalized D.J. Uiagelelei at the helm of operations. He’ll possess the perfect opportunity to gain a momentum booster in light of one of playing a lower ACC team, even without his star running back for another week.
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