BOSTON, Mass. – The third-ranked Clemson Tigers travel to Chestnut Hill, Mass., where they will visit Boston College at Alumni Stadium today. The game will be televised by ESPN and will kick off at 7:30 p.m.
This will be Clemson’s first Friday night game during the regular season since 1956. Clemson has played on a Friday 42 times during the regular season prior to tonight’s game. The Tigers are 23-14-5 in those 42 games.
Clemson’s defensive front vs. BC’s offensive line: The Tigers got after Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson last week before finally wearing down in the fourth quarter due to 99 plays run by the Louisville offense. However, Clemson controlled the line of scrimmage in the first half, sacking Jackson four times and hurrying him several more times. Overall, Jackson was sacked five times and was tackled behind the line of scrimmage seven times overall. The Eagles have allowed just four sacks all year, but the running game is averaging just 3.7 yards per rush. BC has two sophomores and two freshmen starting on their offensive line. Junior center Jon Baker (6-3, 298) is the most experienced player on the offensive line. Advantage: Clemson
Deshaun Watson vs. Boston College secondary: Last year, the Eagles loaded up the box and dared Watson and his speedy wide receivers to beat them deep. After getting off to a slow start with two interceptions, they did just that. Watson threw for 420 yards and three scores on 24 of 41 passing. Wide receiver Artavis Scott caught 10 passes for a career-high 162 yards and a touchdown. Watson also threw touchdown passes to tight end Jordan Leggett and former running back Zac Brooks. The Eagles lead the nation in pass defense, but they have not played anyone close to Watson’s level. BC’s secondary is led by senior free safety John Johnson and junior corners Gabriel McClary, Isaac Yiadom and Kamrin Moore. The secondary, though physical, has just two interceptions to this point in the season. Advantage: Clemson
Clemson’s running game vs. BC’s front seven: Last year, the Eagles held Clemson to 112 yards on the ground. Can they limit the Tigers and running back Wayne Gallman this year? Last year was a season-low for Clemson. The Tigers got the running game going last week with 201 yards on the ground as Gallman rushed for 110 yards and Watson rushed for 91. The Eagles have a very good front seven, led by linebackers Conner Strachan (6-0, 237) and Ty Schwab (6-0, 229). The Eagles are seventh nationally in rushing defense, allowing 78.0 yards per game. They have held four of their five opponents to 121 yards or less, including minus-23 yards to UMass. However, against the best offense they have faced thus far, Virginia Tech rushed for 223 yards. Advantage: Clemson
Bottom line: Boston College may be physical and it may be tough, but the Eagles just don’t have the talent to hang with the Tigers for four quarters. Still, Clemson is going to have to execute and is going to have to play well, but it ultimately should have little trouble in leaving Boston with a victory.
Prediction: Clemson 42, Boston College 7