Third-ranked Clemson defeated Boston College 56-10 on Friday night at Alumni Stadium in Chestnut Hill, Mass. The Tigers improved to 6-0 (3-0 ACC), while the Eagles fell to 3-3 (0-3). Here is a look back at how Clemson earned the victory:
Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson went 14-of-24 passing for 266 yards and four touchdowns to no interceptions as the Tigers racked up 56 points and 499 total yards of offense. Wayne Gallman added 109 yards on the ground on just nine carries for an average of 12.1 yards per attempt. Deon Cain led the receiving corps with three catches for 68 yards, including a couple of touchdown receptions that helped Clemson ice the game in the third quarter. After turning the ball over five times against Louisville, Clemson gave up the ball just once on special teams.
Defensively, Clemson was outstanding again. Clemson limited Boston College to just 251 yards of offense, 96 passing yards and 155 rushing yards. Ben Boulware and Van Smith led the Tigers with nine tackles apiece, while Christian Wilkins and Clelin Ferrell each registered a sack. Overall, Clemson notched three sacks, eight tackles for loss and created one turnover.
What went right?
Clemson’s offense, which struck early and often. The Tigers scored quickly on several occasions in the first quarter to take control early. After a three-and-out by Clemson on the first possession, Gallman broke off a 59-yard touchdown run on the second possession to give the Tigers a 7-3 lead. Then, on the ensuing drive, Mike Williams laid out to corral a 50-yard pass from Watson before the two hooked up for a 9-yard touchdown that made the score 14-3. On Clemson’s next offensive play from scrimmage, Watson found Jordan Leggett wide open up the middle, and the senior tight end took the ball 56 yards for another touchdown that gave Clemson a comfortable 21-3 lead. On the first drive of the second half, Watson connected with Cain on a 29-yard deep pass for a 28-3 advantage. Clemson continued to pile on points from there.
What went wrong?
Not much, but there were a couple of big mistakes. Ray-Ray McCloud muffed a punt in the first quarter that Boston College recovered deep in Clemson’s territory and turned into three points. And at the end of the first half, Cain made a mental mistake. With time running out, Cain caught a long pass in Boston College territory. But instead of getting down and allowing Clemson to call a time out in order to attempt a field goal, Cain stayed on his feet, and time ran out before the Tigers could tack on a few more points.
Clemson’s defense provided the game-changing moment early in the first quarter. Boston College was in prime position to score the first touchdown of the game and grab early momentum following McCloud’s muffed punt, which the Eagles recovered at Clemson’s 9-yard line. But the defense stood up Boston College at the goal line and forced the Eagles to settle for a field goal. When Clemson took over, Gallman opened the flood gates on offense with a 59-yard touchdown run that gave the Tigers an early 7-3 lead they would never relinquish.