By Trey McCurry.
Clemson travels to Chestnut Hill this weekend looking for its third straight win over Boston College. The Tigers will also look to keep the O’Rourke-McFadden Trophy from the Eagles. The Boston College Gridiron Club began sponsoring the trophy in 2008 and the Tigers have won both trophies.
Head Coach Dabo Swinney again said the Tigers are in a one-game season. “Last week was a good team win. I am really proud of our guys. They have another big opportunity this weekend and hopefully we continue to build momentum. It is a one-game season right now – this week it is Boston College. I am proud of our guys’ effort. This season has been like a heavyweight fight. We got knocked down in the early rounds, but these guys got up and have battled back in the middle rounds. Now, we have to finish.”
Looking at the Eagles, Boston College is always a tough matchup for Clemson. “You can take the names off the jerseys every year. They are who they are – big and strong. We have only won once in Chestnut Hill in our history. We will have to play a very good game to beat these guys. They are getting better each week.”
“Offensively, the biggest thing is their quarterback. He is getting better and in turn, they are getting better. They are a very capable, dangerous football team. They are big on offense and are all veterans. Montel Harris is a good back. He is leading the league in rushing and is a tough runner. They are very NFL-ish on offense and love to be balanced. We have to play smart, solid defense.”
“Defensively, they are leading the league in rush defense. They have a very good system and know how to apply that to the opponent. They don’t beat themselves, so you have to put good drives together. Last year we didn’t have a single TD against them, so we have to do a better job of scoring TDs. Luke Kuechly is the leading tackler in the ACC for them at linebacker. It is good to see Mark Herzlich back out there. It is a great story and I am looking forward to seeing him before the game and congratulating him on his season and his journey.”
One of the players Swinney highlighted was the play of Jonathan Meeks. “He is a blossoming player. He and Carlton Lewis have really started to come on. Meeks started and played great. Rashard we think a lot of him. One of the best things defensively is we are building some competitive depth. That is great thing for accountability. With that comes confidence. It has been good. Seeing his confidence rise we have high expectations for him. It will help us for next year also.”
Another topic discussed was the play of Clemson on the road this season. “The biggest challenge is to go on the road and play a complete game. We have been in position to win on the road and we didn’t finish, including a game against the #1 team in the nation right now. This team has shown up for every game. Being able to finish on the road is what I am looking for right now. With good teams, none of that matters. It is all about how your practice and prepare. It doesn’t matter who you play, the weather, game time, etc. Good teams don’t worry about all that and hopefully we will be that team on Saturday.”
This week Coach Swinney returns to the site of his first win as a college head coach. With Tiger wins the past two seasons, Clemson has taken a 9-8-2 lead in the series with the Eagles. The series dates back to the 1940 Cotton Bowl and has been extremely close since the Eagles joined the ACC in 2005. Four of the five ACC meetings between the teams have been decided by a touchdown or less (with two in overtime).