Tigers complete largest comeback ever at Death Valley

Tigers complete largest comeback ever at Death Valley

Football

Tigers complete largest comeback ever at Death Valley

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Clemson rallied from 18-points down in the second quarter to defeat BC

With 264 all-purpose yards and two touchdowns, running back Travis Etienne rallied No. 1 ranked Clemson from an 18-point deficit to beat Boston College, 34-28, at Death Valley on Saturday.

The 18-point rally for victory was Clemson’s largest come-from-behind victory in Death Valley history. In 1966, the Tigers rallied for a 40-35 victory over Virginia after trailing 35-18 heading into the fourth quarter.

Clemson trailed the Eagles (4-3, 3-3 ACC) 28-10 following a Phil Jurkovec 18-yard pass to wide receiver C.J. Lewis with 1:02 to play before halftime. The Tigers proceed to score the final 24 points to win the game.

Freshman defensive tackle Bryan Bresee sealed the win when he forced Jurkovec to intentionally ground a pass from his own end zone with 1:18 to play. Bresee’s was awarded a safety on the play.

Clemson (7-0, 6-0 ACC) also got 342 passing yards and two touchdowns from freshman quarterback D.J. Uiagalelei, who completed 30-of-41 passes in leading the Tigers back. Clemson, of course, was without starting quarterback Trevor Lawrence after he tested positive for COVID-19 on Thursday.

The Tigers also played the game without starters Tyer Davis, James Skalski and Mike Jones on defense.

Etienne gave Clemson its first lead of the game, 32-28, when he raced up the middle of the BC defense for a 17-yard touchdown with 11:34 to play. Earlier on the drive, the Clemson running back became the ACC’s career rushing leader on a 16-yard run to end the third quarter.

He broke Ted Brown’s mark which he had held since 1978. Etienne also set the FBS record for career games with at least one touchdown on Saturday. He has now scored in 42 of his 50 career games at Clemson.

The Tigers dominated the second half of the game. The Clemson defense held the Eagles to 66 yards on 30 plays in the last 30 minutes after giving up 209 in the first half.

The offense, which finished the afternoon with 448 yards, tallied 209 yards in the second and scored three touchdowns.

The rally began just before halftime when B.T. Potter made a 50-yard field goal to cut the score to 28-13 with seven seconds to play in the half.

On the Tigers’ opening drive of the second half, they moved the ball to the BC 30, where they faced a short-yardage situation on fourth down. On fourth-and-one, Uiagalelei kept the ball around the right side and raced 30 yards for a touchdown, cutting the Eagles lead to 28-20 with 11:38 to play in the third quarter.

Clemson cut the lead to two points on its next possession when Uiagalelei found Amari Rodgers with an 8-yard touchdown pass. Rodgers’ made a diving twisting-catch as Uiagalelei threw the ball off the senior’s back shoulder. However, the Tigers’ 2-point try was unsuccessful, allowing BC to stay in front at 28-26 with 6:16 to play in the third quarter.

Behind the play of Jurkovec, the Eagles stunned the Tigers in the first half. They also got a 97-yard fumble return from cornerback Brandon Sebastian in the second quarter to help build their lead.

Mistakes plagued Clemson in the first half. The fumble, a pass interference call, a roughing the passer and an offside penalty on fourth down.

On BC’s last drive of the first half, Clemson recorded a Nolan Turner interception, but a roughing the passer penalty negated the interception. A few plays later, the Tigers appeared to have stopped the Eagles and held them to a field goal attempt, but BC tried to run a trick play and got Clemson to jump offside. Jurkovec made them pay on the next play when he found C.J. Lewis for an 18-yard touchdown pass with 1:02 to play before halftime.

Clemson appeared to be going in for a game-tying touchdown when Etienne and Uiagalelei had trouble with the exchange on third-and-goal from the one. Sebastian recovered the loose ball and returned it 97 yards for a touchdown. That gave the Eagles a 21-7 lead with 12:14 to play in the first half.

Clemson tied the game at 7-7 with 10:54 to play in the first quarter when Etienne caught a screen pass in the flats from Uiagalelei and then sprinted 35 yards untouched for an easy touchdown. The Clemson running back finished the afternoon with seven record for 140 yards. His 140 yards broke his own mark for receiving yards by a Clemson running back in a game. Etienne had 114 yards on five catches in Clemson’s win over Miami on Oct. 10.

BC quickly answered the Etienne touchdown. On its second drive of the game, Jurkovec led the Eagles on a six-play, 75-yard drive, which running back David Bailey capped with a 2-yard touchdown. The Bailey touchdown gave them a 14-7 lead with 8:41 to play in the first quarter.

Boston College controlled the first half from the outset. It became the first team to take the lead on the Tigers all year when it took the opening drive of the game and needed just four plays to go 74 yards for the game’s first touchdown.

Jurkovec tossed an 11-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Jay Flowers for the 7-0 lead with 13:08 to go in the first quarter.

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