It’s BC week at Clemson.
What does that mean exactly?
It means the athletic trainers are going to be extremely busy next Sunday when the players come in for treatments. Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney has said it many times in the past, when the Tigers play Boston College each year, there is no other game that has more players in the training room that following Sunday getting treatment.
No matter what their talent is, no one has played Clemson harder each year than the Eagles, and that will surely be the case this Saturday when the second-ranked Tigers visit Chestnut Hill, Mass., to take on No. 14 Boston College.
“That is just their philosophy that they have in place,” Swinney said Sunday evening during his weekly teleconference call with the media. “I think it starts with their coach. He is a tough-minded coach.”
Clemson (9-0, 6-0 ACC) has won seven straight against BC and nine of the last 10 in the series. However, the Tigers’ win streak is not as easy has it has seemed.
Take last year’s game at Death Valley for instance. Clemson won the game 34-7, but what a lot of people forget is the game was tied at seven heading into the fourth quarter.
Adam Choice scored what turned out to be the game-winning touchdown with a 6-yard run with 11:59 to play. Travis Etienne, who recorded his first 100-yard game of his career (113), later broke off a 50-yard touchdown run with 5:41 to go to give the Tigers some distance.
Clemson scored 27 fourth-quarter points to make the game look worse than it actually was. The Eagles went on to finish the regular season with a 7-5 record and earned a trip to the Pinstripe Bowl in New York.
The Tigers have won the last three games against Boston College by an average margin of 30 points, but Swinney warns that does not mean the Eagles have not played them tough.
Head coach Steve Addazio’s teams always bring a tough physical mindset into the game that challenges their opposition. That is no different this year.
BC (7-2, 4-1 ACC) comes into the Atlantic Coast Conference showdown in the Atlantic Division having its best season under Addazio. Like Clemson, the Eagles control their own destiny and a win over the Tigers can set them up for their first return trip to the ACC Championship Game since 2008.
Once again, they are led by a big strong offensive line and a running game that wants to pound their opponents. Running back A.J. Dillion leads the ACC in rushing yards per game, averaging 128.1 yards per game. As a team, BC is averaging 225.6 yards per game on the ground.
“They’re a built to run, play-action offense,” Swinney said. “They have always had big strong backs, a big strong offensive line and just their scheme challenges you from a physicality standpoint. They’re going to be downhill. They’re going to run a bunch of gap scheme stuff and some leads and there is a certain mindset you have to play with if you are going to be able to stand up to that for four quarters.”
The Eagles come into Saturday’s matchup, which will be televised by ABC at 8 p.m., riding a three-game winning streak. They have defeated their last three opponents—Louisville, Miami and Virginia Tech—by an average margin of 13.7 points.
Boston College has averaged 231.0 yards per game on the ground during the three-game win streak.
“That is what they believe in. They do a great job with it and we definitely have our work cut out for us,” Swinney said. “We are going to have to have a great week of practice as far as really getting the plan down and then everybody has to make the choice on the type of physicality you have to play with in a game like this to give yourself a chance to win.”