Clemson, SC – Clemson’s homecoming win over Boston College was just what the doctor ordered and just as scripted. A respectable yet ‘underdog’ program on a down year with one of the least talented rosters in the ACC going up against the defending national champions on an ‘on’ night? Almost inevitable, and a nice way to celebrate OL Coach Robbie Caldwell’s 500th career game.
Boston College’s offense lined up in tight sets, pounding the rock into the ground with an occasional pass. Clemson’s response? Stack the box, maybe keep one player past ten yards, and dare the Eagles to defeat the Tigers head on – a losing proposition.
The Eagles first three drives gained 24 total yards and featured no complete passes – enough to ensure that Halloween wouldn’t collide with Homecoming. Clemson seized their opportunity by methodically slicing their way through the Eagle defense with superior talent and three favorable PI calls, scoring 17 points on their first three drives.
Boston’s next drive was a work of underdog beauty, albeit four drives too late. Starting off with a surprise 30-yard completion from Grosel to Long, the 15-play, 75-yard, six-minute drive that featured two fourth down conversions put the Eagles on the scoreboard with an AJ Dillon rushing score. The Eagles’ wouldn’t score again in the first half, and Clemson would post three touchdowns on three second quarter drives to make the halftime score 38-7.
Its unusual you see a record broken and a score on the same play, but even rarer is when the record and the score are for opposite teams. Seconds after rushing for ten yards to become BC’s all-time leading rusher, Chad Smith stripped Dillon of the ball and Logan Rudolph lumbered the 39 yards for the score to put Clemson up 45-7 early in the third.
Just when the Tigers bled the eagles with papercuts, Diondre Overton broke two tackles and ran free for the 63-yard touchdown catch to go up 51-7 with twenty-four minutes left in the game and to usher in the weekly Chase Brice appearance.
Lawrence’s day ended with 275 yards, three passing scores, and only three incomplete passes. Etienne broke the 100-yard mark yet again and scored three touchdowns in the process. Isaiah Simmons had a quieter day on the stat sheet but was impressive nonetheless as he terrorized Dennis Grosel and allowed fellow linebacker Chad Smith to have an impressive day (9 tackles, a sack and a TFL, and the forced fumble of AJ Dillon).
Clemson’s offense sliced through the uncharacteristically weak Boston College defense with few hiccups – and it wasn’t just the first stringers. Lawrence threw lasers to the open man, whom would break the secondary’s tackles for significant extra yardage. Etienne and friends displayed their superior athleticism on the ground behind an excellent performance from the offensive line, routinely making it to the second and third levels of the defense.
Diondre Overton’s impressive day continued as he caught his third pass and third touchdown of the day to cap off Chase Brice’s second drive with a score, extending Clemson’s lead to 59-7 with 13:37 left for the final score of the day.
The Tigers had 674 total yards of offense on the day (8.4 per play) while Boston College had 177 (2.9 per play). The Tigers held the Eagles to under 100 yards passing and rushing while only allowing two of fifteen third down conversions (2 for 2 on 4th). Clemson rushed and passed for over 300 yards and scored on all five trips to the red zone, ending the day with 36 first downs.
Simply put, this is what Clemson wanted and needed. With LSU surviving against Auburn and Oklahoma losing to Kansas State, Clemson’s drop in the polls should stop as they enter the Championship phase of the season – the only phase where polls matter. Championships are won from November to January, but the Tigers have placed themselves in great position to compete.