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Five Things Boston College Needs To Do To Defeat Clemson

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It’s a long shot but what do the Eagles need to do to win?

NCAA Football: Buffalo at Boston College Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Before I am lambasted in the comment section, let me preface this whole post by saying that I think the odds of Boston College winning are very slim. HOWEVER, I refuse to say it’s impossible. There are a lot of things that could happen, especially with the emotions of the Red Bandana game and Friday night football, that could lead Boston College to an upset win. If the Eagles want this one, here are five essentials that are non-negotiable in terms of avoiding a loss.

  1. Get off the field on 3rd downs: Controlling Clemson’s juggernaut offense is going to be no small task. They are excellent at every position, with a Heisman caliber QB, two NFL ready wide receivers, and a dangerous running back. But BC’s defense has handled good offenses in the past, see Notre Dame last year. Clemson is going to move the ball, but what BC can’t afford to do is allow the Tigers to keep drives moving when the defense is ready to get them off the field. BC has been really hit or miss this year in terms of 3rd down efficiency doing really well against the bad teams (UMass, Wagner, Buffalo) and struggling mightily against the ACC teams. They can’t expect to win if the defense can’t get Clemson off the field.
  2. Control the ball: You know that style of gameplan that BC has been running that we all hate? The drain the clock mentality? Well against a team like Clemson that may be the best strategy. Deshaun Watson and Company can’t hurt you if they are on the bench. BC needs long drives that eat up yard and game clock for a myriad of reasons. One, the offense needs points. Duh. That seems pretty self explanatory. Secondly, it keeps BC’s defense fresh. If the offense goes three and out over and over again, the defense is going to get gassed, and that will play right into Clemson’s hands. BC has got to find a way to sustain drives or it will be a long night
  3. Limit Mistakes: There are two major mistakes that we have seen from BC that could get them killed against Clemson: turnovers and penalties. First and foremost Patrick Towles can not any brain farts in this game. He is going to be experiencing a pass rush probably only matched by Virginia Tech in terms of voracity this year. If he holds on to the ball too long he’s going to get killed and we will see the strip sacks like we did against Buffalo. Towles is not the only person we need to have a near perfect game. The offensive line who has been inconsistent at best, a mess at worst, can’t have needless holding or false start penalties. They also need to be crisp with their assignments as BC can not afford blown defenders blasting Towles. The secondary as well needs to avoid those long pass interference calls we saw against Virginia Tech.
  4. Force Deshaun Watson Into Making Errors: Do not blitz him. Let him sit in the pocket all day for all I care. But do NOT let him move around and make plays with his feet. He isn’t invincible, and will make mistakes as we saw last week against Louisville and last year against BC. He is a superb quarterback, and you have to pick your poison with him, and your odds that he will make a mistake.
  5. Be Bold. Addazio has said as much already this week that he is going to need to do this in order to win. Look back to the scheme BC used against USC, they threw the kitchen sink at them. I know we don’t have a Tyler Murphy this year, but Patrick Towles can still make things happen with his feet. Jeff Smith certainly can make plays happen as well, and he needs to get his touches. This week will truly show if the USC gameplan was a Ryan Day creation, or if Addazio can replicate it. If BC goes out there and tries to play smash mouth football, Clemson’s front seven is going to cream our line. They have to keep the Tigers on their toes. Use end arounds, bubble screens that actually work, misdirections, QB draws. Empty the playbook, leave it all on the field.