Yesterday at a soaked Alumni Stadium, the Boston College Eagles continued to struggle on both of sides of the ball, falling to #17 Clemson in front of 40,138 during Parent's Weekend--a good deal wearing Purple & Orange. The Eagles had their opportunities, even starting off the game with the lead, but a series of mistakes, and atrocious defense allowed Clemson to dictate the pace the of the game, and move the ball at will and in the end win this game.
The game couldn't have started off any better for the Eagles. After holding the Tigers to a quick three and out, BC got the ball back and marched down the field, with Chase Rettig hitting strikes to C.J. Parsons and Johnathan Coleman. The Eagles scored on a delayed handoff to Andre Williams where he basically went in untouched 30 yards out for the first points of the game. 7-0 Eagles.
The momentum continued to be in the Eagles favor as they held Clemson to a 28 yard field goal the next drive. This was a drive reminiscent of the Northwestern game because even though Tajh Boyd and Andre Ellington effectively moved the Tigers down the field, BC was able to clamp down in the red zone and prevent them from punching it in. Again Eagles fans felt confident.
In one of the most mind numbingly series of the season, BC went a quick three and out on the following series. For some reason Doug Martin and Spaz thought running the ball three times, when you haven't had the run blocking or the runners the entire season would be a good move. It wasn't. Andre Williams ran the ball three times for 5 yards, and Gerald Levano followed it up with a bad punt of 26 yards. With very short field position, Tajh Boyd hit passes to DeAndre Hopkins and Brandon Ford, which led to a TD run by Tajh Boyd. Because of that coaching blunder momentum swung completely back to Clemson.
BC's offensive line really struggled on the next set of downs, where Rettig was sacked and two passing plays that went no where led to a quick three and out. Gerald Levano had yet another horrific punt, giving the ball back to Clemson at the BC 41. Clemson quickly took advantage of their field position on a TD pass from Boyd to Sam Cooper putting the Tigers up by 10.
On the ensuing Boston College drive, BC backed themselves into a third and long, due to a penalty and a run that went backwards three yards. They got most of that back on a pass from Rettig to Alex Amidon, but on 4th and short Spaz went for it, and of course the Eagles ran it, and of course they failed to get the first down. As if God was rewarding Spaz for showing some moxie, Sean Sylvia intercepted the very next pass, getting BC out of danger of getting blown out of the building. Rettig used his arm, and moved the ball on two length passes to Spiffy Evans and Amidon that set up a beautiful touchdown pass to Jonathan Coleman. 17-14, BC was back in the game.
BC's defense held fast against Clemson on the next set of downs, forcing a quick three and out. BC got the ball, and Rettig hit two long passes, again to Spiffy and Amidon, this time the pass to Amidon ended in pay dirt. The Eagles had taken the lead. Alumni Stadium was rocking. However, the theme of the game continued, as Clemson immediately answered on an efficient 13 play 76 yard drive that ended with Tajh Boyd hitting Brandon Ford in the end zone, and giving the Tigers the lead at half, 24-21.
The third quarter was where Clemson put their foot on the gas and effectively took out BC. BC came out and after a holding penalty on Emmett Cleary and a sack on Chase Rettig, punted the ball back to Clemson. The Tigers struck quickly, making it a double digit lead on a 14 yard scamper by Roderick McDowell. BC and Clemson traded punts for a majority of the quarter, the best was a pooch punt by Rettig that pinned Clemson in at the three yard line. Many might have complained that Spaz punted the ball at Clemson's 36 yard line, but with the way the offense was moving, it made a lot of sense.
Clemson got the ball in great field position on a bad interception by Chase Rettig, that set up a high jump touchdown run by Andre Ellington. Things began to look bleak for the Eagles as they now trailed 38-21. However, Rettig immediately answered with another long touchdown pass to Alex Amidon, his second of the day. Eagles again were closing in.
DeAndre Hopkins took over though, as BC had no one that could cover the star wide receiver. On the ensuing drive, he caught passes for 52 yards, including a 35 yard TD pass from Boyd. BC moved the ball effectively on the next drive, but stalled out at the 22, and Spaz elected to kick a field goal instead of going for the touchdown. Yet another interesting call by the fourth year head coach. BC held the Tigers on a 4 and out on the next drive, but they sealed their fate with another interception by Chase Rettig, this one to Garry Peters. Clemson got the ball and ran the clock down, and BC left with their third loss of the young season.
It was another game that Boston College could have won if they made a few plays. But they didn't. Both the offensive and defensive line should shoulder much of the blame in this one. The offensive line struggled, Chase Rettig was knocked around in this one, and nearly injured, and it is impossible to start a running game if Clemson defenders are in the backfield before you can hand the ball off. On the defensive side, Boyd had all day to throw the ball, and was sacked once. You won't beat a team like Clemson if Boyd is left to his own devices. Alex Amidon continues to play like a star, and Rettig had a solid game, but again the pressure forced him into a few uncharacteristic bad throws.
Yesterday was a tough loss, BC still has a lot of work to do, but next week is Army, who just lost to Stony Brook. So hopefully the Eagles will be able to get back into the win column at West Point on Saturday.