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BC Football Preview: Recent History Against the Clemson Tigers

Will David be able to Tackle Goliath?

Kent State v Clemson Photo by Todd Bennett/Getty Images

This is the game that is circled in thick red ink on every BC football player’s calendar as it is undoubtedly the match of the year for the Eagles. BC has tried desperately over recent years to be the thorn in the Clemson Tigers’ side, but has always wound up as a mere inconvenience for the Tigers on their continuous championship and bowl runs. Ever since his rise to the title of Head Coach in 2008, Dabo Swinney has taken the Clemson program to new heights and instilled his team as one of the best in college football. Under his tenure, Clemson has finished in the AP top 25 in 8 seasons, had an appearance in a bowl game in every season during Swinney’s term and played in two national championship games against Alabama securing one win against the Crimson Tide. Now that is quite the resume.

This year’s match-up is going to be just as tough as in most recent years. In some respects, it may even be more challenging even without Clemson’s Heisman Trophy candidate DeShaun Watson as starting QB Kelly Bryant is easily one of the best dual-threat quarterbacks in the country. ESPN analytics predicts that the Tigers this year are going to be the best team in college football (yes, even better than ‘Bama) and have a 67% chance of reaching the College Football Playoffs. Much of this predicted success has not so much to do with Clemson’s offense, which is obviously superb, but primarily with the Tigers’ stellar defensive line. All four returning starters have a ton of experience with the team and have all found spots on ESPN’s 2018 version of the top 50 best players in college football list. These are the four main guys that BC’s offensive line will have to deal with:

Christian Wilkins

  • Class: Senior
  • Pos: DT
  • College Careers Stats:

Dexter Lawrence

  • Class: Junior
  • Pos: DT
  • College Careers Stats:

Clelin Ferrell

  • Class: Junior
  • Pos: DE
  • College Careers Stats:

Austin Bryant

  • Class: Senior
  • Pos: DE
  • College Careers Stats:

It is evident that BC’s offensive line is going to have quite the task in going up against this veteran Clemson defensive line if they have any chance in putting up some points against the Tigers. Not to mention that A.J. Dillon is going to have to be a workhorse on the ground and show this defensive unit why he should be in the Heisman running. However, without digressing into talking about what BC needs to do to win, I am all about the history. If there is anything recent history has shown us it’s that Clemson has officially etched itself as one of the faces on the College Football Mount Rushmore. Time and time again they have handled the Eagles with ease. However, BC has shown up to fight in just about every contest and there have been multiple times where the Eagles have kept it close. Yet, the Tigers have a relentless spirit and are easily able to alter their game strategy in the middle of the game to eliminate all threats and humiliations of an upset. Only time will tell if this will be the year that BC snaps their 7 game losing streak to the Clemson and finally becomes that thorn in the Tiger’s side. As always, it is going to be an arduous endeavor

October 12th, 2013: Boston College 14 vs. #3 Clemson 24

  • Location: Death Valley, SC
  • This was one of the games against Clemson that BC let get away from them.
  • Myles Willis was able to find the endzone first in the game on a 38 yard scamper to put the Eagles on top.
  • BC’s defense held its ground in the first half forcing two Clemson turnovers and keeping the Tigers to only three points in the first half.
  • However, Taj Boyd began to take off in the ensuing half as he connected with Sammy Watkins on a 48 yard pass half-way through the third to give Clemson the lead. Boyd finished with 334 yards in the air on the day.
  • BC responded with a touchdown pass of their own with Chase Rettig able to find Alex Amidon on a 69 yard pass. The Eagles took a 14-10 lead into the fourth.
  • Taj Boyd did not let that lead last long as two minutes into the fourth he was able to march his team down the field to secure the go ahead touchdown.
  • On BC’s last drive, Rettig fumbled the ball in his own territory which was scooped up and scored by David Beasley to cap off a win for the Tigers.

October 18th, 2014: Boston College 13 vs. #24 Clemson 17

  • Location: Chestnut Hill, MA
  • DeShaun Watson was sitting out this game and Cole Stoudt was put in as his back-up. Stoudt had a decent outing against the Eagles completing 29/45 of his passes for 285 yards.
  • Wayne Gallman struck first for Clemson on a 17 yard run to give the Tigers the lead.
  • BC responded quickly in a 26 yard pass from Tyler Murphy to Little-Guy Sherman Alston to tie things up nearing the end of the first half.
  • In the second half, Tyler Murphy, in the redzone, rolled all the way out to his right and threw across his body to Josh Bordner in the endzone giving the Eagles the lead with 11 minutes to go in regulation. And, of course, Mike Knoll then missed the ensuing PAT....
  • Two minutes later, Clemson’s C.J. Davidson ran 32 yards for a Tigers touchdown putting BC under pressure, once again, to march down the field to score a game winning touchdown.
  • On the last drive of the game, Murphy was able to find a wide-open Tyler Rouse but the RB ended up botching the pass that could have led to a BC touchdown that would have put the Eagles ahead with one minute left in the game. BC ended up turning the ball over on downs and losing another close match-up with the Tigers.

October 17th, 2015: Boston College 17 vs. #5 Clemson 34

  • Location: Death Valley, SC
  • With Jeff Smith under center, the Eagles traveled down to Death Valley and started out the game looking to put up a fight with the Tigers.
  • Smith was able to lead BC to drawing first blood against the Tigers by finding Bobby Wolford on a five-yard drag route into the endzone. It was Smith’s only touchdown pass of the day and one of his few completions. He finished 7/22 for 87 yards on the day.
  • However, the Tigers did not let the Eagles gain any momentum. DeShaunn Watson had a phenomenal performance throwing for 420 yards, three touchdowns and one rushing touchdown.
  • From the offensive side of the ball, Clemson completely outperformed the Eagles totaling 552 yards of offense in comparison to BC’s 246. Then again, this was the year where BC was banged up in every position on offense so no surprises here.

October 7th, 2016: Boston College 10 vs. #3 Clemson 56

  • Location: Chestnut Hill, MA
  • DeShaun Watson had another fantastic game against the Eagles throwing 15/25 for 270 yards and four touchdowns.
  • RB Wayne Gallman also had a great game on the ground rushing for 109 yards on 9 carries including one 59 yards touchdown.
  • BC’s offense was essentially non-existent this game. The team combined for only 251 yards of offense and coughed up the ball four times.
  • The Tigers took control early and having been at that game live, it was easy to predict that this game was over by half-time, which obviously ended up being the case.

September 23rd, 2017: Boston College 7 vs. #2 Clemson 34

  • Location: Death Valley, SC
  • This is one of the games BC played against Clemson where the score does not reflect how intense of game this was.
  • BC’s defense was stellar in the first half holding new Clemson QB Kelly Bryant to only one touchdown and keeping the game close. It was BC’s offense that was having a tough time getting anything going.
  • A.J. Dillon was eventually able to get BC’s first score late into the third to tie the game up at 7. Alarms were beginning to be raised around college football of a potential upset in the making. Yet, Clemson was not going to go out that easy.
  • The fourth quarter was all Clemson’s. Kelly Byrant showed us his dual-threat skills he rushed for a touchdown late in the game that ended up sealing the game for Clemson. He ended up running the ball 22 times for 106 yards and two touchdowns.
  • Tiger RB Tavien Etienne also broke free for a 50 yard touchdown in the fourth. He finished with 113 yards and two touchdowns on only 9 carries.
  • This was simply a game where BC’s defense showed up and played their hearts out while the offense decided to mentally hang back in Chestnut Hill. BC finished with only 238 yards of offense as opposed to Clemson’s 482.