With ESPN’s College GameDay setting up shop in the Dust Bowl, and a primetime national spotlight aimed at their showdown with the #2 ranked Clemson Tigers, Boston College was brimming with excitement. Turns out Desmond Howard was a false prophet, and Clemson is in another class altogether.
Already facing a tall task against the imposing Tigers defense, BC starting QB Anthony Brown suffered a game ending injury in the first quarter, after he was thrown to the turf by defensive lineman Christian Wilkins. The offense looked very out of sorts with backup EJ Perry at the helm, managing a measly 23 yards of offense in the first half, and 113 for the game.
BC’s lone score came on a Michael Walker 74 yard punt return for a touchdown that gave the Eagles an early 7-3 lead, and sent Alumni Stadium into a frenzy. Walker bravely scooped up the bouncing, rugby style punt in traffic, and took it all the way to the house for his first career return touchdown.
Given the limited offensive output, BC’s defense spent a lot of time on the field, and managed to keep the Eagles in the game for a time. In the first half, Greg Huegel connected on field goals from 30 and 23 yards respectively, and QB Trevor Lawrence was effective, racking up 216 yards in the half, including a 2 yard touchdown pass to tight end Milan Richard. Lawrence would finish with 295 yards on 29 of 40 passing, including a touchdown and an interception.
Clemson cruised in the second half. Lawrence capped a quick 3 play, 64 yard drive with a 5 yard touchdown run that put the Tigers up 20-7 early in the 3rd. The Boston College offense continued its woeful ways, and Amari Rodgers returned a BC punt 58 yards for touchdown in the 4th quarter to effectively seal the victory, and a place in the ACC title game for the 4th consecutive season.
Ultimately, the takeaway is not that Boston College failed to take advantage of their turn on the national stage. Martin Jarmond and his staff did a terrific job, the students showed up on time and stayed late(ish), and the team fought hard. But Clemson is one of two truly elite teams in college football, and David can’t always best Goliath.