GAME NOTES: The No. 24 Clemson Tigers will try for their first road victory
of the season on Saturday afternoon when they take on the Boston College
Eagles in an Atlantic Coast Conference bout at Alumni Stadium.
Since suffering a heartbreaking overtime loss at No. 1 Florida State on Sept.
20 (23-17), Clemson has ripped off three straight wins, all at home, to
improve to 4-2 overall and 3-1 in the ACC. The Tigers overcame a devastating
injury to their quarterback last weekend to defeat Louisville, 23-17, which
allowed them to return to the AP Poll.
Boston College is also 4-2 overall after taking down NC State on the road last
Saturday, 30-14, giving it three wins in its last four contests. Prior to
defeating the Wolfpack, the Eagles’ only other ACC game was a loss to
Pittsburgh on Sept. 5, 30-20.
“It’s an unbelievable opportunity for us to play (Clemson) at home,” Boston
College coach Steve Addazio said. “It’s an unbelievable challenge. I’m sitting
here saying, ‘How are we going to move the ball against these guys?’ That’s
how good they are. They’re relentless.”
Clemson has a 12-9-2 advantage in the all-time series with Boston College. The
Tigers have won three straight over the Eagles, including a 24-14 home triumph
The Tigers’ offense has been outstanding this season with 37.5 ppg and 447.2
ypg, but the unit will have a completely different look over the next few
weeks now that Deshaun Watson (1,176 passing yards, 147 rushing yards, 15 TDs,
two INTs) is out with a broken finger.
“He’s a great young man with the right type of mentality,” Clemson coach Dabo
Swinney said. “He knows there’s nothing he can do about it. He’s just going to
get well and get back to work…We expect him to be back at some point this
season. We’ll see how that process goes.”
Cole Stoudt entered last week’s game and threw for 162 yards and an
interception on 20-of-33 passing. He saw extended time early in the season but
has just one touchdown pass on 102 attempts.
Stoudt will be fortunate enough to lean on a strong receiving duo as he
transitions into the starting role. Artavis Scott has registered 28 receptions
for 371 yards and three touchdowns, while Mike Williams has been a big play
waiting to happen with 543 yards and four scores on just 22 grabs.
The rushing attack has been lackluster, with the team averaging only 3.2 yards
per carry. Adam Choice is the top option with 46 carries, 205 yards and a
Clemson will need to rely more heavily on its stellar defense in the absence
of its star quarterback. The unit has allowed just 21.2 ppg and ranks tied for
sixth in the nation in total defense (286.0 ypg).
All-American Vic Beasley is a menace on the defensive line and has racked up
10.0 TFL, 8.0 sacks, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. Stephone Anthony
is the other defensive standout with 37 tackles, 7.5 TFL, 1.5 sacks and a
Boston College has been strong offensively this season, putting up 29.7 ppg
and 443.5 ypg, and it put together another solid showing in last week’s win
over NC State with 30 points and 411 yards.
Tyler Murphy had a modest passing day the last time out (12-of-19, 101 yards),
but he made up for it with 132 rushing yards and two touchdowns. The dual-
threat quarterback is the team’s leading rusher (711 yards, eight TDs),
although his passing numbers have been lackluster (.558 completions, 761
yards, three TDs, six INTs).
Jon Hillman is a workhorse tailback, having turned 103 carries into 454 yards
with a nose for the end zone with seven scores.
Dan Crimmins (17 receptions, 156 yards) and Josh Bordner (16 receptions, 242
yards, two TDs) are the only receivers with double-digit catches.
Equally as important as their solid offense has been the Eagles’ impressive
play on the defensive side of the ball, as they give up just 19.3 ppg and
289.8 ypg, with the latter ranking eighth-best in the country.
Justin Simmons has registered a team-best 38 tackles to go with a sack and an
interception, while Josh Keyes is also in the midst of a strong campaign with
32 tackles, 9.5 TFL, 4.0 sacks and a forced fumble.
Addazio’s concerns about generating offense against Clemson’s defense are
well-founded, especially with the inconsistent play of Murphy under center.
The Eagles should receive a boost from their home crowd, but that likely won’t
be enough to down the Tigers, who are still the more talented team even with
their backup quarterback in.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Clemson 20, Boston College 17