It is not every Saturday a team completes its greatest comeback ever at home, while also having a player who sets two all-time records in the same game.
But that is what happened Saturday at Death Valley in Clemson. The top-ranked Tigers rallied from 18-points down to defeat Boston College, 34-28, while running back Travis Etienne became the ACC’s all-time career rushing leader, as well as the first player in college football history to score at least one touchdown in 42 career games.
“What you saw today, is uncommon,” Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney said. “We talk about being uncommon, and what you saw today is not the norm. It is uncommon. It is the epitome of team, and to be honest with you, it was inspiring.
“It was inspirational to see the perseverance. To see guys fight, to overcome, to not quit, to stay together, to just keep playing and to not flinch. This was just an unbelievable game.”
Clemson (7-0, 6-0 ACC) trailed by 18 points, 28-10, with 1:02 to play in the first half. But thanks to a 30-yard touchdown run and an 8-yard scoring pass from freshman quarterback D.J. Uiagalelei, as well as a 17-yard Etienne touchdown run, the Tigers rallied with 24 unanswered points to earn the win.
The comeback victory was Clemson’s largest come-from-behind win at home in school history. The Tigers’ largest comeback victory at Death Valley prior to Saturday had come in 1966, when Clemson turned a 17-point, 35-18, deficit into a 40-35 win against Virginia.
“My first ever win came against Boston College 12 years ago tomorrow, November 1. I will never forget that one and I will never forget this one. That is two that I will never ever forget,” Swinney said.
Saturday’s win tied for the second-largest comeback win in school history at any location, matching an 18-point comeback at Maryland in 2011, which had also stood as Clemson’s largest comeback win under Swinney.
The game was Clemson’s 15th victory all-time when trailing by 14 or more points at any point of the game. It was the program’s sixth such comeback-win under Dabo Swinney and its first since the 2019 Fiesta Bowl, when Clemson overcame a 16-point deficit to beat Ohio State.
After a 50-yard B.T. Potter field goal with seven seconds left in the first half, the Tigers trailed BC 28-13 at the break. Clemson overcame the 15-point halftime deficit, its largest halftime deficit in a victory since overcoming a 21-point halftime deficit in a 29-28 win at Virginia in 1992.
As for Etienne, he finished the game with 20 carries for 84 yards, and thanks to a 15-yard run on the last play of the third quarter, he broke the ACC’s career rushing record held by NC State’s Ted Brown (4,602 from 1975-78).
Etienne now has 4,644 rushing yards in his career.
The Clemson running back also set the FBS mark for career games with a touchdown, when he hauled in a screen pass from Uiagalelei and raced 35 yards untouched for the Tigers’ first touchdown of the afternoon. Etienne finished the game with seven receptions for a career-high and school-running-back-record 140 yards.
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