The Clemson Insider grades each position group’s performance from third-ranked Clemson’s 56-10 win at Boston College on Friday night.
Clemson (6-0, 3-0 ACC) tallied 499 yards of offense, while holding the Eagles to 251 yards.
Deshaun Watson followed up a strong fourth quarter against Louisville with another winning effort against the Eagles. Watson overcame a bit of an up-and-down start to complete nine of his final 12 passes in the game. He threw for 266 yards and four touchdowns, scored by three different receivers. His targets were spread around to seven different receivers. Nick Schuessler also completed his only pass attempt for six yards, and Kelly Bryant had a six-yard run in Friday’s victory.
Running Backs: A+
Against a Boston College defense that theoretically possessed an upper-tier rushing defense, the Tigers were able to move the ball at will on the ground. Wayne Gallman gashed the Eagles for 109 yards on only nine carries, including a 59-yard touchdown. Tavien Feaster scored a late touchdown on a 45-yard scamper and had 56 yards on four carries. Overall, the group averaged 6.5 yards per carry, and pass protection was excellent from the tailback group, as usual.
Wide Receivers: A-
Mike Williams dropped an early pass, but after that, it was mostly very good things for Clemson’s receivers. No single player monopolized targets or catches, but the collective effort was solid. Artavis Scott caught four passes for 45 yards. Deon Cain led the team with 68 yards and caught a touchdown. Williams boasted a 50-yard catch and later added a nine-yard touchdown. By the time this group was done scoring midway through the third quarter, the game was all but over.
Tight Ends: A-
Perhaps the best news coming out of this group is that three players were prominently featured against Boston College. Jordan Leggett, Garrett Williams, and Milan Richard all spent ample time on the field in various roles. Leggett caught a pair of passes, including a 56-yard touchdown pass that required him to maneuver in and out of the defense to get to the end zone. No major issues presented themselves from this group.
Offensive Line: A
Clemson did whatever it wanted on offense for most of Friday’s game. That was primarily thanks to the offensive line’s ability to win the line of scrimmage for the vast majority of the game. The lone issue came when Tremayne Anchrum hobbled off with a leg injury. His absence will affect depth moving forward, but it didn’t affect the overall level of play up front in this contest. It was a strong performance from this group in general, especially considering the number of players who rotated in and out at various points.
Defensive Line: A
In the Clemson-Boston College series, the Eagles typically have the edge at the line of scrimmage, or it’s at least an even split. The Tigers dominated from scrimmage in this game, though. This group managed 2.5 sacks and 4.5 tackles for loss, led by Christian Wilkins’ fine homecoming performance. The Eagles only averaged 3.2 yards per carry in Friday’s game, and the play didn’t diminish when guys like Jabril Robinson came into the game late, either.
It was a much different—arguably a much easier—challenge for Clemson’s linebackers against Boston College on Friday than the Tigers had a week ago. Ben Boulware was superb once again, even supplying a hit that was initially called targeting and then was rescinded after a review. Kendall Joseph supplied a half-dozen tackles, Dorian O’Daniel was solid, and even Jamie Skalski had three tackles in a cleanup role.
Defensive Backs: A+
When an opponent only gets 96 passing yards, the secondary deserves a round of applause. BC quarterbacks combined to average only four yards per attempt through the air, a credit to the high number of effective plays Clemson’s defensive backs made on the football in the air. Mark Fields returned a pick for a score, Ryan Carter was all around the ball, and Jadar Johnson showcased his sneaky coverage skills on a number of occasions.
Special Teams: C+
Eh, this group was decent against Boston College, but it wasn’t the same unit that may have saved the game against Louisville last week. Artavis Scott looked timid on kickoff returns, but credit goes to the Eagles for covering those well. Ray-Ray McCloud muffed a punt and almost muffed a second one. Andy Teasdall did pin the Eagles inside the 20 twice in five punts, and Greg Huegel made all of his kicks.