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BC-Clemson Preview and Predictions and a Clemson Guest Spot

NCAA Football: Clemson at Boston College Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

BC heads to Death Valley to take on now number four Clemson. Still undefeated, but the defending champions have been heavily scrutinized / other teams have looked unstoppable. The unfortunate news for BC is that the Tigers have no reason to overlook this game. With their next game coming against Wofford, there’s no room for the trap game narrative. Clemson also seems to be finding their stride after some shaky performances. They dismantled FSU and Louisville in the past two weeks with ease.

This game has some extra meaning behind it. It’s a Richard Yeargin homecoming. It’s been nearly three years since he played at Memorial Stadium, but I’m sure it will mean everything to him. I highly recommend a recent ESPN piece on Yeargin’s incredible comeback from a devastating car accident a few years back. No matter the outcome of the game, one thing is for sure, everyone will be rooting for this man.

Clemson has done a good job in the past bottling up AJ in the past two years. 39 yards last year and 57 as a freshman. Neither output will suffice on Saturday night. They know the running game is the focal point of the offense, and will sell out to limit it if need be, daring young Dennis Grosel to throw the ball. I once again will call for trick plays galore, and the play action game will be apparent as per usual.

On the other side of the ball, the Tigers haven’t honestly been much different than they have been in years. They’re average similar points per game (40 vs 44). Lawrence has completed 63.7% of his passes for 1,534 yards and 14 touchdowns, and added five on the ground. He has been careless though. The wunderkind has tossed eight interceptions so far and it’s been a great talking point over the course of the season. However, Lawrence’s stat line is eerily similar to that of Deshaun Watson’s in his sophomore campaign. Lawrence has seven more completions (121 to 114), the same number of attempts (190), while Watson had thrown for 32 more yards, one less interception (7 to 8), and one more touchdown (15 to 14) by this point.

The Tigers boast dominant wide receivers in Justyn Ross, Tee Higgins, and Amari Rodgers, and have plenty of depth behind them. The assortment of size and speed here is just unfair. We’re going to have some trouble because of the susceptibility to big plays and Lawrence’s need to make those throws. Luckily, it might be raining quite a bit! Let’s hope for a monsoon.

BC did a solid job limiting Clemson star running back Travis Etienne to 78 yards rushing and only nine receiving yards last year. He puts up a pedestrian 111.6 yards/game (compared to AJ’s 138.3), but has also put up big yardage in the last two games. He’s got great speed and great a breaking tackles, and ... well, let’s just say that’s the Eagle defense’s best attribute. He’s going to be a handful.

Guest Spot from our friend Tom at Shakin’ the Southland, Clemson’s SB Nation Blog:

Check out the Q&A we had with them on their site as well

Coming into the season, all the talk around Clemson was about how elite the offense would be, coupled with a defense laden with question marks thanks to the departure of the entire starting defensive line.

Seven games in, the narrative has basically flipped. All of the questions and doubts are around Clemson’s offense, as it has shown some inconsistencies despite averaging 40 points and over 500 yards per game to this point. On that side of the ball, I still hope to see more cohesion and flow (like we saw on Oct. 12 when Clemson manhandled Florida State at home), and fewer hero-ball throws from Trevor Lawrence, whose eight interceptions have Clemson haters salivating.

On the other side of the ball, I’ve been impressed overall with Clemson’s strong defense. I felt that the secondary would be strong coming into the year, and that’s come to fruition, with the Tigers yielding only 144.1 passing yards per game (the third-lowest average in the FBS). But against Boston College, I would really like to see how the revamped defensive line can hold up against the Eagles’ imposing rushing attack. While players like Xavier Thomas and Tyler Davis have been excellent this season, Clemson as a whole is a bit more pedestrian against the run, giving up 111.9 yards per game (good for a ranking of 25th among FBS teams). A good performance in limiting BC’s run game would be a great sign for the remainder of the season.

The Oddsmakers:

Spread: Clemson -34 (Rude)

Money Line: Clemson -20000/BC +7250 (Do it, you won’t)

Over/Under: 59 (Definitely a random number)

Who does Jesus love more?: Trevor Lawrence +225 / Father McGowan -175

We’ve lost eight straight and they’re on a roll. Clemson scored 45 points in each of their past two games and have only yielded a combined 24 points. Overall, the entire Clemson offense has the ability to just be too damn explosive. I like the under because I’m no fun, and despite the score prediction, I probably lean the Clemson cover. Perhaps BC +21 first half if you want to make things interesting though.

Staff Predictions:

Grant: Uncle

Niraj: 42 Clemson - 10 BC

Let’s go team