Short break allows Tigers to break BC’s spirit

Oct 7, 2016; Boston, MA, USA; Clemson Tigers head coach Dabo Swinney on the sideline during the second quarter against Boston College at Alumni Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Stew Milne-USA TODAY Sports

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. — Dabo Swinney is generally not a guy who goes against his schedule. He is a man of great detail and organization.

Practices and meetings are well thought out and executed. So when Swinney called his team together in the middle of practice on Tuesday and told them to go home and rest, it was obvious the Clemson Tigers were tired.

After playing an emotional and physically draining game against No. 7 Louisville last Saturday, No. 3 Clemson had to quickly turn around and get set to play at Boston College five days later. Because the Louisville game was an 8:30 p.m. start, most of the Tigers got very little sleep, not turning in until 4 or 5 a.m.

Later that evening, less than 24 hours after beating Louisville, Clemson was back on the practice fields. The Tigers had a good practice that night and then did the same on Monday, but on Tuesday Swinney could tell there was something wrong with his team.

“I think he could tell we were just lagging around,” Clemson linebacker Ben Boulware said after the Tigers’ 56-10 victory over Boston College on Friday. “There is only so much your body can take. By Tuesday, he realized we were kind of sluggish and hurting.”

So Swinney called his team together and told them to go home.

“Sunday and Monday, I thought we had two of our better practices, but on Tuesday we kind of hit the wall, both coaches and players,” Clemson’s head coach said. “I told everybody to go home and get some rest. Let’s come back tomorrow.”

The Tigers (6-0, 3-0 ACC) came back refreshed and ready to go, and it proved to be a good move as they dominated Boston College at Alumni Stadium in Chestnut Hill, Mass. Clemson came out and rolled to 21-3 lead in the first quarter, and then added 35 more points after halftime.

On offense, the Tigers racked up 499 yards, while the defense held BC to 251 despite defending against 72 plays. The defense defended 99 plays against Louisville.

“(The time off) helped us out, and it got us back on track this week,” linebacker Ben Boulware said. “Me, Kendall (Joseph) and Van (Smith), our entire back-seven played 101 snaps last week. I think you can tell by Monday and Tuesday we were just lagging around.

“He kind of cut back on practice a little bit and it kind of showed tonight. We felt fine, despite all the snaps we played. It felt good. We got our legs back up underneath us.”

Clemson jumped out to a 21-3 lead in the first quarter thanks to a 59-yard Wayne Gallman touchdown run, a nine-yard Deshaun Watson to Mike Williams touchdown and then a 56-yard Watson to tight end Jordan Leggett scoring play.

In the third quarter, Watson found wide receiver Deon Cain for touchdown passes of 29 and 16 yards. In the fourth quarter, running backs Tyshon Dye and Tavien Feaster scored as well, while cornerback Mark Fields took an interception and returned it 42 yards for a touchdown.

“They did a great job. I love that mentality of this team and the leadership of this team,” Swinney said. “We came up here to take care of business and we did just that. We wanted to play our best game of the year and we played our best game of the year.”

And thanks to playing on a Friday, the players will get the weekend off before returning to practice on Monday to prepare for next week’s Homecoming game against N.C. State.

“This week will be huge just to have this extra rest,” Boulware said.

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