By Will Vandervort.
By Will Vandervort
CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. — Clemson’s players could do nothing but watch as Boston College players celebrated Alex Amidon’s 31-yard touchdown reception from quarterback Chase Rettig late in the second quarter Saturday at Alumni Stadium.
The Eagles had stolen the momentum as the go-ahead score came with 4:12 to play in the first half, erasing what was once a 10-point Clemson lead. Down three, the offense knew it was their time to step up and re-gain control of the game. It was only fair, considering it was the offense’s fault that Boston College had the lead in the first place after quarterback Tajh Boyd threw an interception on a trick play that went bad.
“It was very important we get that drive together just before the half,” Boyd said.
It was important enough that No. 17 Clemson used the 13-play, 76-yard drive to seize back control of the game as it ultimately rolled to a 45-31 victory, while putting up 576 yards of offense in the process.
“It was critical for us to get something going,” Clemson offensive coordinator Chad Morris said. “I thought that was a huge drive in this ball game. We had just thrown a pick the series before trying to create something on a sudden change, and that was on us.
“When you want to be an aggressive play caller as I am, you have to be able to respond. You can’t put yourself in a bind like that. I thought it was great how they came back and responded.”
The Tigers (4-1, 1-1 ACC) came back with an 18-yard Boyd to DeAndre Hopkins pass on second-and-12 from their own 22 to get the offense going. From there, Boyd hit Humphries with two passes for 17 yards and then watched as running back Andre Ellington ran the ball three straight times for 19 yards to move the football to the Boston College 20.
Two plays later, Boyd hit tight end Brandon Ford for 10 yards to move the ball to the Eagles 10, and then on third-and-goal from the four. Boyd again found his favorite tight end with a four-yard touchdown on the far side, which replay officials upheld.
The four-yard touchdown pass gave Clemson a 24-21 lead with 23 seconds to play before halftime, but more importantly, it gave back the momentum.
“We just kind of stuck to the game plan,” said running back Andre Ellington, who rushed for 132 yards and scored on a one-yard touchdown run in the third quarter. “We did not panic. We stuck to what we do and it worked out for us.”
Thanks to a three-and-out forced by the Clemson defense to start the second half, the Tigers quickly gained control of the game as it marched 57 yards on eight plays which Roderick McDowell turned into a 16-yard touchdown for a 31-21 lead with 11:06 to play in the third quarter.
“We were very excited to get that drive in,” Boyd said. “We went down there and executed the whole drive and when we got down there we punched it in. We were very excited about it.
“That carried over in a sense. We did a lot of good things in the second half and we finished strong unlike last week.”
Clemson upped its lead to 17 points later in the quarter when Ellington dove over the pile from the one-yard line, and again scored early in the fourth quarter on a 35-yard Boyd to DeAndre Hopkins touchdown with 14 minutes left in the fourth quarter.
“That drive right before the half was a critical drive in the game,” Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney said.
It was a drive that ultimately won the game.