TheClemsonInsider.com was on the sidelines to watch the Tigers lose to Boston College and see most of their season’s goals blown away in the wind at Alumni Stadium.
First, we have to start with a positive. Clemson fans are special. I would estimate about 8,000 to 10,000 Tiger fans showed up to support the Tigers at Chestnut Hill. This was not a cheap trip for those that made the trip up North to support the Tigers. For so many Clemson fans to make the trip in today’s economy to see a 4-3 team (before Saturday) was amazing. Thursday morning when I flew up from Charlotte there were several flights to Boston and Providence that had many wearing their orange with pride. Tiger Nation once again showed how special they are.
The bad news is most of them left Alumni Stadium in shock as the Tigers fell to one of the worst teams in the ACC in a game that Clemson should have won easily. Before each game Dabo gathers the Tigers as they leave the field after warm-ups for some final words before they head to the locker room. This week I caught his speech on video. Dabo told his team to look at all of the Tiger fans that had made the trip to support them and to make sure they gave them a good performance. Well we all know how that turned out, unfortunately.
Before Dabo spoke to the team on the field Bowers did and was very animated as he encouraged his team to play to their best. DaQuan looked very subdued as he came out of halftime. In the post game DaQuan made some comments about how he did his job and based on what the offense was doing. There seemed to be some frustration on his part after the loss.
The wind in the East endzone was blowing like crazy Saturday afternoon. I told several that it would have an impact on the game at some point. It certainly did on a few of the Tigers drives towards that end and it certainly impacted Parker’s interception into the wind.
The wind also made it a pretty cold afternoon for those in attendance. It wasn’t anything like last year’s Music City bowl, but most were glad the game was played at noon.
The Clemson defense in the first half reminded me of the ACC Championship game. The Eagles did not have to punt a single time in the first half. That was very surprising to see against an offense that is one of the worst in the league.
The defensive staff did a good job of making adjustments at the half. In the second half the defense played well and gave the offense chance after chance to win the game.
Clemson needs to find someone that can put shoes on quicker. On one critical drive as Ellington was moving the ball his shoe came off and he went to the sidelines. One of the managers tried to get the shoe back on and it took two plays to get it back on and by then the Tigers had third and long and ended up having to go for a field goal. Call me crazy, but shouldn’t you be able to get a shoe back on in one play?
Chandler Catanzaro looked upset as he sat on the bench alone after missing his second field goal and being told that Richard Jackson would take over the kicking duties. One of the assistant coaches came over to him and told him to keep his head up and get on the sidelines and cheer on his teammates, which he did. That was good to see. Chandler is just a freshman and will do good things for the Tigers down the road.
When we saw Ron Cherry was calling the game we knew it would be trouble for the Tigers. There were several holding calls, at least five that Cherry clearly saw but did not throw a flag. The biggest was one when Bowers was held in the endzone. It was a clear call with Cherry just a few feet away. It should have been a safety for the Tigers.
The Tigers really struggled to tackle Saturday afternoon. On many of Harris’ runs the Tigers made contact with him within a yard or two of the line of scrimmage, but he would end up with 3 or more yards almost every time. Jarvis Jenkins was one that really struggled getting him on the ground.
The energy level on the sidelines was not good Saturday. After falling behind in the first half the Tigers never really regained the energy level they had early in the game.
There was a big feeling of déjà vu for many in the media in the second half. This was very similar to the 2006 trip to Boston College. This time there was no Matt Ryan on the other team and no reason at all for the Tigers to lose. The feeling was similar to the Maryland loss last year and several of the Wake Forest losses during the Bowden days.
Some things may have changed with the new staff, but some certainly have not. Clemson continues to lose games they have no reason of losing and it continues to cause them to be an average team in an average conference.
Dabo has talked in previous weeks about how this team was different than last year’s because they had not “laid an egg” like the Maryland loss last year. Well they have now and in my mind have done so twice including the loss at North Carolina.
After two years things seem very similar to the Bowden era.