All eyes are on Boston College.
Make no mistake, we as fans and media are already counting the game against Boston College as a win for the Tigers, but the Eagles will provide a stern test on Saturday.
Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney has said all week that his team is focused on the Eagles and not looking ahead to the primetime matchup with Florida State next week.
Can the Tigers come out with the same focus that their head coach has preached about all week?
We’ll find out at 3:30 p.m. Saturday afternoon.
WHAT: BOSTON COLLEGE (3-2, 1-1 ACC) AT NO. 3 CLEMSON (5-0, 3-0)
WHEN: 3:30 ON ABC/ESPN2
WHERE MEMORIAL STADIUM, CLEMSON, SC
WHEN CLEMSON HAS THE BALL: The Clemson offense is cruising right along like a well-oiled machine after the last two games, scoring more than 40 points in both contests. However, Boston College’s defense is a veteran group and may be the best defense that the Tigers have faced to date. Linebackers Kevin Pierre-Louis and Steele Divitto are the Eagles’ leading tacklers with 50 and 43, respectively. Defensive end Kasime Edeballi is wreaking havoc in opposing team’s backfield with six tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks. The Boston College defense is also creating turnovers – recovering three of five forced fumbles and recording eight interceptions through the first five games. Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd will have to be accurate with his passes, take what the defense gives him and not try to force any throws because a turnover could turn the tide of this game. Expect Clemson offensive coordinator Chad Morris to try to run the ball first since the Eagles are giving up 4.54 yards per rush and 198 yards per game. The Boston College offense is only giving up 208 yards through the air, but when the Eagles play a team with a talented quarterback – like Florida State – they gave up just over 12 yards per catch. If the offensive line can protect Boyd and give him time to find an open Sammy Watkins, Adam Humphries, Martavis Bryant or Stanton Seckinger, it could be a big offensive day for the Tigers.
WHEN BOSTON COLLEGE HAS THE BALL: It’s no secret that Boston College is bringing in the nation’s top rusher in 6-0, 227-pound senior Andre Williams. Williams is averaging 153.6 yards per game and rushed for a career high 263 yards and five touchdowns last week against Army. Eagles quarterback Chase Rettig is no slouch either and has completed 70-of-109 attempts for 891 yards and nine touchdowns, while only throwing three interceptions. Rettig’s top target is Alex Amidon who has caught 32 passes for 426 yards and two touchdowns. The Clemson defense gave up over 300 yards on the ground a week ago at Syracuse. They will need to correct the alignment issues on the defensive line if they want to keep Williams contained for most of the day. Also, the linebackers and corners will have to watch the underneath routes to Amidon who can easily turn a short a pass into a big gain. If defensive ends Vic Beasley and Shaq Lawson, who lead Clemson in sacks, can pressure Rettig he won’t’ have time to find Amidon on the longer routes.
SPECIAL TEAMS: Usually, it’s a no brainer to give the edge to Clemson on special teams, but the Eagles may be just as good with veterans Nate Freese, Myles Willis and Spiffy Evans. Freese handles punting, kick offs and field goals and is a perfect six-for-six on field goals with a long of 49, and is averaging 42.2 yards per punt. On the return teams, Evans is averaging 16 yards per punt return, while Willis is averaging 31.4 yards per kickoff return. Clemson kickoff specialist Bradley Pinion will need to consistently boot kickoffs through the endzone to keep the Eagles from winning the field position battle. If Adam Humphries can continue his success from a week ago on punt returns, then the edge still goes to the Tigers.
WHAT WILL HAPPEN: A lot of Clemson fans are already chalking up this game as a win, but since the Eagles entered the ACC, they have been a thorn in Clemson’s side. The teams have split the series 4-4 since 2005 and the average margin of victory has only been 8.5 points; however the last two games haven’t really been close with Clemson winning 31-14 in 2011 and 45-31 in 2012. Expect the Eagles to make this interesting early on with big runs from Andre Williams on offense and defensive pressure when the Tigers have the ball. But, the Clemson coaching staff will make the necessary adjustments just as they have all season long and by the time the fourth quarter rolls around the score won’t be quite as close.
FINAL SCORE: CLEMSON 42 – BOSTON COLLEGE 21
Post written by Clemson Girl Sports Bloggess Nikki Steele.