Second-ranked Clemson scored 27 points in the fourth quarter to pull away from a tough Boston College team for a 34-7 win in Death Valley on Saturday.
The Tigers (4-0, 2-0 ACC) ran for 342 yards and had 482 total yards in the victory. Running back Travis Etienne led Clemson with 113 yards and two touchdowns, while quarterback Kelly Bryant also ran for 106 yards and two scores.
The Clemson defense held the Eagles (1-3, 0-2 ACC) to 238 total yards, including just 97 on the ground.
Here is how the Tigers graded out in the victory.
Quarterback: As good as Bryant was running with the football, he was not at his best throwing it. The junior threw two interceptions, though one was not his fault, and he had issues throwing screen passes as he was often high on his throws or off the mark. Bryant threw for just 140 yards on 17-of-26 passing. His longest pass was 25 yards. Bryant also fumbled the ball once on a hard hit. Grade: B
Running back: Etienne was not the only running back to play well. Tavien Feaster, who started the game, rushed for 73 yards and also was the lead blocker for Bryant on a lot of his runs, including on Bryant’s 11-yard touchdown in the second quarter. Choice rushed for just 26 yards, but he did score the go-ahead touchdown and once again took care of the football and ran the ball hard. The only blemish in the running game was a fumble by C.J. Fuller, which tight end Milan Richard jumped on to keep the ball for the Tigers. It was Fuller’s second fumble in the last three games. Grade: A
Pass catchers: Hunter Renfrow was Hunter Renfrow as he finished the game with six catches for 53 yards. Deon Cain was targeted a couple of times downfield, but he and Bryant did not connect. Cain did finish with 25 yards on three catches. However, Ray-Ray McCloud was limited to two catches for minus-2 yards. Richard had three receptions from his tight end position, while Diondre Overton made a huge 23-yard gain to keep a fourth-quarter drive alive, leading to Choices’ go-ahead touchdown. The run blocking was good downfield and there were no dropped passes. Grade: B
Offensive line: It’s hard to give the offensive line a bad grade when the team rushes for 342 yards and has five rushing touchdowns. And though the Tigers did run the ball well, once again, pass protection was not good. Bryant was sacked two more times, bringing the season total to 10 in just four games. Bryant also got hit a few other times, including once on the arm which led to an interception. Play at right tackle continues to be inconsistent. Left guard Taylor Hearn picked up Bryant’s fumbled and rumbled 12 yards down the sideline for a first down while living out every offensive lineman’s dream of running with the ball. Grade B
Defensive line: Unlike most games, the defensive front did not blow BC off the ball. The Eagles held their own as quarterback Anthony Brown was sacked just once. Defensive end Austin Bryant had the team’s lone sack, plus had a tackle for loss as well. Defensive tackle Christian Wilkins had six tackles. Though BC did not get blown off the ball, they did not blow Clemson off the ball either. The Tigers held the Eagles to a season-low 97 yards rushing on 34 carries. Grade: B
Linebackers: Once again, the Tigers’ linebackers played well. Kendall Joseph led Clemson with 12 tackles, including one tackle for loss, while Tre Lamar had eight tackles from his middle position. Dorian O’Daniel was again solid with four tackles, including another tackle behind the line of scrimmage. Backup linebackers Jalen Williams and J.D. Davis each had five tackles. Grade: A
Secondary: Once again, the Tigers secondary was solid. Boston College completed just 15-of-32 passes for 141 yards and was intercepted twice. On the one sack the Tigers got, it came because everyone downfield was covered up. Safety Tanner Muse had a big game with nine tackles and one tackle for loss. Isaiah Simmons also had a tackle for loss as part of his three tackles. Corners Trayvon Mullen and A.J. Terrell both recorded their first career interceptions. Grade A
Special Teams: Playing without kicker Greg Huegel, who is out for the season with a torn ACL, did not hurt the Tigers this week as his replacement Alex Spence just kicked extra points. The junior was 4-for-5 on his PATs. Spence and Christian Groomes each kicked off three times and had just one touchback between the two. Returner Michael Walker for BC had 102 return yards. He also had 53 on punt returns. Will Spiers allowed a 27-yard return on one punt after out kicking his coverage. He averaged 48.2 yards per punt with a long of 56, but he had none downed inside the 20. The bright spot of the special teams was McCloud’s 56-yard return. Grade: B