Dexter Lawrence has accomplished a lot of firsts this season as a freshman defensive tackle. Playing the first snaps of his career, it didn’t take him long to record his first tackle, tackle for loss, sack, pass breakup and so forth.
On Friday night in Clemson’s 56-10 win over Boston College at Alumni Stadium, Lawrence added a new one to the list — fumble recovery.
Just before halftime with Boston College driving into the red zone, Eagles quarterback Patrick Towles rolled right and ran forward before being met by a jarring hit from linebacker Ben Boulware that knocked the ball up in the air.
Trailing the play, Lawrence was in position to snatch the ball and secure the fumble recovery, which is what he did.
Boulware was initially flagged for targeting, but the penalty was overturned upon official review and the turnover stood.
“Ben had a nice hit, and I saw the ball out late,” Lawrence said of the play. “I saw it flying in the air, and that was my opportunity to go get it and fall down.”
It was one of many highlights for Clemson’s defense during another dominant performance. The unit allowed just 251 yards of total offense to Boston College, including 155 rushing yards and 96 passing yards, on 72 plays (3.5 yards per play).
Clemson was in Boston College’s backfield early and often, too, as the Tigers totaled three sacks and eight tackles for loss.
Going on the road and beating a physical team on short rest with one less day of preparation isn’t easy, but the defense did its job. So did the offense, which produced 56 points and 499 yards.
Lawrence thought both sides of the ball complemented each other nicely.
“Offense, defense and special teams just all clicked this game because we always wanted to finish the whole game,” Lawrence said.
Eight different defenders played 75 or more snaps the previous week against Louisville.
Clemson was running on fumes and adrenaline in practice on Sunday and Monday as it got ready for Boston College, and by Tuesday, the team was drained.
But the Tigers responded with a great practice on Wednesday and were able to get some rest on Thursday and Friday morning.
“It was hard,” Lawrence said of the short week. “A lot of us played a lot of snaps, but we rested. We had some periods off and got a little rest in, and we all just came ready to compete for practice. Tuesday was a little slow, little sluggish, but Wednesday we picked it up.”
Clemson has lacked a “killer instinct” at times over the past couple of seasons, often jumping out to big leads but allowing opposing teams to fight back into games.
On Friday, however, there was no fighting back from Boston College. An 18-point advantage at halftime turned into a 46-point win as the offense never stopped attacking and the defense didn’t let its guard down.
“We just try to teach ourselves to finish each game, finish through the fourth quarter,” Lawrence said. “Sometimes you let up and then teams get in scoring range and score. We just try to push ourselves each week to try to eliminate that and try to keep pushing through the second half, keep that same momentum we have in the first half and bring it to the second half.”