CHESTNUT HILL, Mass.—All of the talk leading up to second-ranked Clemson’s matchup with No. 17 Boston College was about A.J. Dillon and the threat he posed to the Tiger defense.
The Tigers (10-0, 7-0 ACC) shut down BC in a 27-7 win on the road to clinch the ACC Atlantic Division. Clemson also secured the O’Rourke-McFadden Trophy for the eighth straight season having won 10 of its last 11 matchups with the Eagles.
AJ Dillon and the Boston College (7-3, 5-2 ACC) rushing attack were seemingly non-existent on Saturday evening thanks to the Tiger defense. The Eagles netted nine yards on the ground, after a few big losses on miscues at center, and Dillon finished the day with a season low of 42 yards on 16 carries.
Throughout the week on the major networks, talking heads hyped up Dillon as the best running back in the ACC who would test Clemson’s salty front. Prior to the game, Dillon averaged a league best 128 yards per game after missing a pair of contests due to injury but when the Tigers showed up in Alumni Stadium, he looked remarkably average.
Clemson safety Tanner Muse found a little extra juice for the BC game because of all the talk leading up to the game about Dillon. He heard what everybody said on College Gameday and the ESPN shows leading up to the game.
“On Gameday they said we’d get a heavy dose of AJ Dillon, so we prepared in the back of our mind to really test him,” Muse said. “I think we showed what we had for him.”
Muse had possibly his best game of the season as he was asked to help fill gaps and stop the Eagle’s rushing attack. He led the Tigers in tackles with 10 including four solo tackles and half of a tackle-for-loss.
Muse and the Clemson defense found plenty of bulletin board material in the week leading up to Saturday’s game.
“We hear it all from the media but we really try to hone it in and just our play show. There is always a story before the game but there is always a different story after the game,” Muse said. “We tried to have a complete 180 from what they were saying before the game.”
The Tigers certainly flipped the script by failing to allow an offensive point in the game. After Anthony Brown left with an injury in the first quarter Boston College became much more one dimensional and failed to establish the run game without a serious passing threat.
The Eagles finished the day with a season low of just 113 total yards.
Clemson returns to action next weekend as it hosts Duke in Death Valley at 7 p.m. for the first home night game of the season.