CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. — Second-ranked Clemson knew No. 17 Boston College would give it a tough game Saturday night at Alumni Stadium, especially with the ACC’s Atlantic Division Championship at stake.
However, it was the Tigers’ toughness that shined in the end. Quarterback Trevor Lawrence threw for 295 yards and one touchdown, while the defense held Boston College to 113 total yards in a 27-7 victory at Alumni Stadium in Chestnut Hill, Mass.
The win allowed the Tigers (10-0, 7-0 ACC) to clinch their fourth division title in a row and seventh overall. Both are ACC records.
Clemson will play in the ACC Championship Game in Charlotte, N.C. on Dec. 1.
The Eagles (7-3, 4-2 ACC) came into the game averaging 37.2 points and 440.1 yards per game, but Clemson stuffed them and running back A.J. Dillon all night. The Tigers held Dillon, the ACC’s leading rusher in terms of yards per game, to 39 yards on 16 carries.
Boston College ran for just 9 yards.
Of course, it did not help BC that starting quarterback Anthony Brown was knocked out of the game on the third play when he tried to avoid defensive tackle Christian Wilkins. However, he landed on his throwing shoulder and left the game and did not return.
Backup quarterback E.J. Perry came in and played tough, but just wasn’t not effective enough against Clemson’s veteran defense.
The Tigers finally put the game away in the fourth quarter when Amari Rodgers took a punt back 58 yards for a touchdown, stretching the lead to 27-7 with 11:39 to play in the game. It was a big play for Rodgers, who had earlier muffed a punt.
Lawrence gave Clemson a 20-7 lead on the Tigers’ first possession of the second half. He led the Tigers to a touchdown on three plays, including a 33-yard pass to Hunter Renfrow to set up his own 6-yard score with 11:56 to play in the third quarter.
Running back Travis Etienne also had a 25-yard run to start the 64-yard scoring drive.
Clemson held just a 13-7 lead at halftime. It’s amazing the Tigers did not lead by more. They outgained BC 260 yards to 24 in the opening 30 minutes. However, miscues in the kicking game cost Clemson.
The Tigers allowed a 74-yard punt return by BC’s Michael Walker and then a muffed punt by Rodgers cost them another possession.
Clemson took the opening kickoff and drove the football 59 yards in seven plays. Huegel capped the drive with a 30-yard field with 12:12 to play in the first quarter. The key play of the drive was a 41-yard Lawrence to Amari Rodgers pass play down the near sideline.
On BC’s first series, starting quarterback Anthony Brown was taken out of the game after he appeared to have injured his shoulder following a Christian Wilkins’ hit.
After Clemson was held on its next possession Walker returned Will Spier’s punt 74 yards for their lone touchdown of the half.
The Tigers responded on their next possession when one on fourth-and-goal from the Boston College 2-yard line, Lawrence threw a touchdown pass off play-action to tight end Milan Richard. The play was set up after the Tigers went into their “Fridge Package” with Christian Wilkins and Dexter Lawrence.
Richard’s touchdown gave Clemson a 10-7 lead with 1:28 to play in the first quarter.
Huegel later added a 23-yard field goal to extend their lead to 13-7 at the break.
Clemson’s defense held the Eagles to 24 yards on 24 plays in the first half, including just one yard on the ground. They had just three first downs and were 2-of-7 on third down.
The Tigers will host Duke next week in Death Valley.