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Clemson 56, Boston College 10: The Key Play

E pluribus unum

Clemson v Boston College Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images

There are many, many moments you could choose from for Boston College where you could say “this is where BC lost the game.”

Some are more obvious than others. After going three and out on their opening drive, BC squandered an opportunity for 7 points after Clemson muffed the Eagles’ punt inside their own ten yard line with the familiar run-run-pass-kick sequence to get just the field goal.

On defense, the Eagles started out well enough, forcing the Tigers into a three and out of their own right after kickoff. But several huge plays for Clemson — Wayne Gallman’s 59 yard touchdown run, Deshaun Watson’s sick 50 yard pass to Mike Williams, and Jordan Leggett’s 56 yard catch and run all combined to cover the spread for the Tigers before the first quarter even ended.

Those are good candidates, but none of them are where the game turned for the Eagles.

0:00 of the 1st quarter: Boston College enters through the tunnel

There are just so many problems here for BC. Let’s try and break things down frame by frame to see what happened.

Bad start

This is where it all starts.

Boston College is, presumably, behind this banner ready to run out onto the field. I’ve been one of Steve Addazio’s most staunch defenders, but even I have to call him out for his decision making here.

Clemson is really good. They do football things almost excessively well. The Eagles really should have been playing to their strengths here by doing something — really, almost anything — else.

There’s hope that BC is not actually behind his banner, but if you’ll look closely at the screenshot above you’ll see that they really aren’t fooling anyone. The interlocking BC is clearly visible, and to top it all off, there is an Eagle logo right smack in the middle.

That’s the Eagles, all right. Clemson knows it, and they smell blood in the water.

It starts to fall apart for BC

This is where things start to literally come apart at the seams for Boston College.

That is, unmistakably, the BC football team streaming through the banner. Their chance to turn back now blown, they decide to throw caution to the wind and sell out on the decision to enter the field.

It’s important to remember that BC’s best chance to win this game was to keep it close in the fourth quarter. Turning to such a high-risk maneuver so early was not the best way to accomplish that goal. Such aggressive moves, statistically, work out best in high-leverage, late-game situations.

What so disappointing here is really the lack of leadership shown by BC’s few upperclassmen on this young team. Take a closer look above — that’s the offensive and defensive captains, Myles Willis #23 and Truman Gutapfel #97, leading the charge. You’d really like to see better judgment out of your senior leaders here.

Too late now

When it rains, it pours. Just brutal. With nearly the entire Boston College football team already out of the tunnel, now we’re told that Clemson is ranked #3 in the country, with a perfect NCAA and ACC record.

It might be unfair for us to expect Addazio to know this, but as the head coach, it’s his responsibility to game plan for anything the Tigers can throw at him. It’s clear that he was not expecting this, and it cost the Eagles the game.

It was all Clemson from this point forward. It’s a shame, because up to this point, the Eagles had really kept it close.