Coming off a very emotional victory over Louisville, it would only be natural for Clemson to experience a let down of some kind Friday night in Boston.
At least that’s what the Boston College faithful were hoping. Maybe the Eagles would catch the Tigers sleeping, especially on a short week.
In the first couple minutes, that actually appeared to be the case, but after the Eagles failed to convert a golden opportunity into a touchdown, Clemson seized control and dominated 56-10.
Entering the game with the top defense in the ACC, the only chance Boston College had Friday night was if they turned the game into a defensive struggle. The Eagles were going to have to force a couple turnovers and win the special teams battle too.
Within the first three minutes of Friday’s contest, all was going according to plan for Boston College. The Eagles induced a three-and-out on the Tigers’ first drive, and despite also having to punt after three offensive plays, Boston College had the momentum because they recovered Clemson punt returner Ray-Ray McCloud’s fumble.
That setup Boston College with first-and-goal at the Clemson 9-yard line. However, the golden opportunity was wasted when the Eagles were unable to convert the great field position into a touchdown. Running back Jon Hillman gained five yards on the first two plays to move the offense to the four, but quarterback Patrick Towles’ incompletion on third down brought out the field goal unit.
Although Boston College had an early lead, the team’s momentum was obviously lost. Then, the lead was too.
Clemson scored on Wayne Gallman’s 59-yard run just four plays later to take a 7-3 lead, which they wouldn’t give up the rest of the night.
After forcing the three-and-out on their first defensive possession, Boston College allowed three plays of 50 yards or more over the next three drives, which all ended in touchdowns. Clemson gashed the BC defense for 165 yards on just three plays, two passes and a run.
Coming into the night, Boston College was allowing just 202.0 yards of offense per game, but against Clemson, they had yielded more than 75 percent of that allotment on only three plays in the first quarter. The Eagles don’t have the offensive firepower to trade blows like that, so they needed their defense to play much better than it did to beat the Tigers.
Boston College finally got something going on offense at the beginning of the second quarter, but once again, the drive bogged down inside the 10-yard line.
The Eagles had second-and-goal at Clemson’s 3-yard line, and they were unable to punch it across the goal line. On third-and-goal from the one, the Tigers stopped Towles on a quarterback sneak for no gain, and then on fourth down, Towles fumbled the snap, which Clemson recovered.
Boston College received another chance, though, when Clemson was called for offsides on fourth down. From the half-yard line, again the Eagles tried to sneak it in with Towles, but once more, he inexplicably had trouble with the snap. Clemson stopped him for a 1-yard loss once he did finally corral the ball.
The Eagles were able to run for 155 yards Friday night, but it took 48 attempts, so Boston College averaged just 3.2 yards per rush. Towles had an awful day passing, as he completed half of his throws, and the team finished with just 96 passing yards.
Clemson outgained Boston College 503-251. The lost extends the Eagles’ ACC losing streak to 11.
Fortunately, their next opponent, Syracuse, is the last one they defeated in conference – at home the final week of the regular season in 2014. The Orange defense has been atrocious, so the Eagles offense should have a better showing next week, but they’ll have to solve their defensive problems from Friday because Syracuse does produce a lot of big plays themselves.
If Boston College is unable to beat Syracuse at home next week, it could be another winless season in conference play.