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Boston College Treating No. 3 Clemson Like Any Other Opponent

The Eagles know how good Clemson is, but that isn't changing their approach this week.

Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

While Boston College will welcome the highest-ranked opponent it has faced at home since 2003, the Eagles aren't treating Friday night's game against No. 3 Clemson any differently than any other week.

"I watched the (Clemson win over Louisville Saturday night), we all did," redshirt freshman running back Davon Jones said. "They're fast and physical (on defense), but we're just gonna game plan for them like any other opponent. They're a great team, and it's gonna be a high-energy game, with a lot of people here. Should be fun to play in."

Perhaps the biggest question for the Eagles will be how they go from playing a mid-major opponent to the No. 3 team in the country, all on a short week. After taking care of Buffalo 35-3, Boston College will now have one less day to prepare for a Clemson team coming off a massive win over formerly-No. 3 Louisville.

"We're gonna have to do both (run and pass well)," senior quarterback Patrick Towles said. "There's a reason they're rated No. 3 in the country, because they're really good at pretty much everything."

Indeed the Tigers are solid across the board. While most will point to Clemson' high-flying offense as its strength, it has actually been the Tiger defense doing the heavy-lifting early this year. Clemson ranks 12th in the nation in yards allowed per game, and 13th in points, giving up a mere 16 per contest.

Holding up against a disruptive front-seven will be the first order of business for the Eagles, as Clemson boasts 12 different players who have recorded a quarterback sack this year, and four players with multiple sacks. Sophomore defensive tackle Christian Wilkins, a Springfield, MA native, might be Clemson's most complete defensive player, already piling up 6.5 tackles for loss and a pair of sacks.

But it won't just be Boston College's offensive line that is challenged Friday, as the Tigers also bring one of the country's best secondaries to Chestnut Hill. Senior safety Jadar Johnson is one of college football's best ball-hawks, who already has three interceptions just five games into the season. In total, the Tigers have forced eight interceptions this season, and surrender just 160 yards through the air per game.

"We just don't need to do anything crazy," Towles said. "We need to stay within ourselves and just play. You see a lot of those interceptions are when guys try to improvise and try to go out of the scheme of the play."

"They're gonna cover people, that's why they're so good," Towles added. "There are going to be a lot of things that are taken away, and we have to stay patient, stay within ourselves, and find the open guy. There's gonna be at least one open guy, we hope."

The Tigers will also present a unique challenge for BC's defense, which currently leads the nation with the fewest total and passing yard surrendered per game. With Heisman candidate quarterback Deshaun Watson coming off a 306-yard, five touchdown performance against Louisville, the Eagles' secondary seems to be in for its biggest challenge of the young season. 

"It's gonna be a challenge," Towles said. "Now, we're very confident in ourselves. We think we've got a real fighter's chance Friday. We've just got to go out and play well, and do our job, and let the chips fall where they may."

"This is why you come here," Towles continued. "You come to play in the ACC, you come to Boston College to play teams like Clemson, play teams like Florida State… We're gonna be ready come Friday."

Friday night's game at Alumni Stadium against No. 3 Clemson is scheduled to kickoff at 7:30 pm. The game will be televised on ESPN.