Instant Replay: No. 2 Clemson 27, No. 17 Boston College 7
Second-ranked Clemson defeated No. 17 Boston College, 27-7, on Saturday night at Alumni Stadium in Chestnut Hill, Mass. The Tigers improved to 10-0 (7-0 ACC), while the Eagles fell to 7-3 (4-2).
Here’s a look back at Clemson’s win over BC:
Clemson took a 3-0 lead less than three minutes into the game on a 30-yard field goal from Greg Huegel that capped a seven-play, 59-yard opening drive. Boston College then scored the first touchdown of the game on a 74-yard punt return by Michael Walker at the 6:22 mark of the first quarter. But the Tigers responded and retook the lead on their next possession, marching on a nine-play, 70-yard drive that resulted in a 2-yard touchdown pass from Trevor Lawrence to Milan Richard and gave Clemson a 10-7 advantage with 1:28 left in the first quarter.
The Tigers tacked onto their lead with a 23-yard field goal from Huegel that put Clemson up 13-7 at halftime, then took control of the game at the outset of the second half. After forcing a three-and-out to start the third quarter, they needed just three plays to go 64 yards for a touchdown. Lawrence found the end zone on a rush from 6 yards out, making the score 20-7 at the 11:56 mark of the third quarter.
Clemson padded its lead early in the fourth quarter thanks to Amari Rodgers, who returned a punt 58 yards for a touchdown to put the Tigers ahead 27-7 with 11:39 remaining in the game.
Boston College starting quarterback Anthony Brown exited the game with an injury in the first quarter and did not return after taking a hit from Clemson defensive tackle Christian Wilkins.
What went right?
Clemson did not allow a defensive touchdown in the contest as the Tigers were dominant on that side of the ball from start to finish. The unit held BC to just 24 total yards of offense in the first half, including only 1 yard in the second quarter, and 113 yards for the game. BC star running back A.J. Dillon managed to rush for only 39 yards on 16 carries, and the Eagles offense averaged just 2 yards per play. The Tigers posted four sacks and 10 tackles for loss while limiting BC to a 3-for-16 clip on third down and 0-for-1 on fourth down. Defensive end Austin Bryant stood out with six total tackles including 1.5 sacks, two tackles for loss and a quarterback hurry.
What went wrong?
Clemson’s offense struggled at times, was forced to punt on six possessions and turned the ball over on downs, though it still racked up 424 yards. The offensive line struggled in particular as Clemson ran for only 129 yards on 30 attempts. The Tigers were also inefficient on third down (5-of-15) and had to settle for field goals a couple of times in the first half when they had a chance to score touchdowns.
Lawrence completed of 29 of 40 passes for 295 yards and a touchdown but missed on some throws and was intercepted with less than four minutes left in the game when Clemson was moving the ball and trying to run out the clock. Also, Clemson turned the ball over in the second quarter when Amari Rodgers lost a fumble on a punt return. He appeared to be interfered with as he was trying to catch the punt, but the referees did not call kick catch interference.
Clemson trailed 7-3 midway through the first quarter following Walker’s 74-yard punt return for a touchdown. However, BC’s lead was short lived, as the Tigers proceeded to drive 70 yards on nine plays for a go-ahead touchdown.
Lawrence found Richard for a 2-yard touchdown out of Clemson’s “Fridge Package” formation that produced rushing touchdowns by Wilkins and Dexter Lawrence the previous two weeks. It put Clemson up 10-7 and the Tigers would never relinquish the lead.