The Boston College Eagles debuted new football uniforms, but for the most part, it was the same defense inside them as before. The #17 Clemson Tigers went up to Boston College and beat the Eagles, 45-31. Boston College opens their season at 1-3 for the second-straight year, now dropping to 0-2 in ACC play. It will not get any easier for the Eagles in the conference, as a road date with Florida State is next (with a visit to Army in between). Boston College also falls to 0-7 against ranked competition under head coach Frank Spaziani.
The Tigers started the game with the ball, but the Eagles were able to get off the field quickly, something they showed an inability to do against Northwestern two weeks ago. Boston College then drew first blood, with Andre Williams breaking free for only the Eagles’ second rushing touchdown of the season. That came on a nine play, 84-yard drive.
Clemson, still smarting from their tough loss to Florida State last week and going on without Sammy Watkins, ended up scoring the next 17 points in a row. The first three came on a short Chandler Catanzaro field goal, the next seven on a Tajh Boyd rushing touchdown, and the last seven on a receiving touchdown by Sam Cooper.
Down 17-7 mid-way through the second quarter, Clemson got the ball back but Boyd threw a bad pass which got intercepted deep in Eagles territory by Sean Sylvia. The Eagles then proceeded to take the ball 92 yards down the field for a touchdown on the back of Chase Rettig, who capped off the long drive with a touchdown pass to Johnathan Coleman.
At 17-14, the Eagles defense held Clemson again, and Chase Rettig came up big once more. He found Alex Amidon for a 31-yard touchdown to give Boston College at 21-17 lead. Unfortunately for the Eagles, Clemson used much of the remainder of the first half to go 76 yards down the field for a touchdown of their own, taking a 24-21 lead going into the half.
The second half was decidedly more tilted towards the Tigers, who outscored BC 21-10 after halftime. Two more touchdowns were forthcoming for Clemson in the third quarter, both on short drives. Clemson only needed to go 57 yards for paydirt on the first, and turned a Chase Rettig interception into points on a 33-yard drive on the second. Giving some credit to the Eagles, they did answer back with a touchdown to cut the margin to 38-28 on the next drive, as Alex Amidon caught his second touchdown pass of the day. Even more credit to Clemson, because they answered that with a touchdown to take a 45-28 lead.
The Eagles only added one field goal from then on, despite being given several opportunities to take advantage of Clemson mistakes.
Boston College’s defense had its moments, but once again did not play a good game. The Eagles’ stand on fourth down at about 7 minutes to go was one of their highlights, but BC could not turn it into points. In total, the Tigers managed to gain 576 yards while converting 10-of-16 third downs. Clemson made a bunch of mistakes on offense in this contest, including turnovers and bad penalties, but for the most part, the Eagles could not take advantage of the opportunities they were afforded. The only time when BC did something impressive with an opportunity they were given was in going 92 yards down the field after Boyd’s interception.
The Eagles’ offense had its moments as well, amassing 420 yards and scoring 31 points. Despite throwing two interceptions, Chase Rettig still had a decent game and is clearly the only avenue by which the Eagles will have any offensive success. Rettig threw for 341 yards and three touchdowns, finding Alex Amidon for two of them. Even though Bobby Swigert is working his way back into the game, Rettig appears to have figured out who his favorite target is.
BC’s run game continues to be dreadful. Only one good run by Andre Williams came through, as BC had just 51 yards on 28 carries. The Eagles ran the ball entirely too much; their best prescription for success is having Rettig air the ball out more often, because it is being conclusively proven that they will accomplish nothing on the ground this year. There is always the risk of an interception, but it is far better to go that route and take the chance than rush for two yards or less on every play.
This was a hit or miss effort for both teams, though Clemson had the superior execution and offensive ability to earn their victory. For Boston College, it will be a fairly bitter pill to swallow, knowing that they had several chances to change the complexion of the game late and did nothing with them. They can take a few positives away from it, such as Alex Amidon’s tremendous performance and Chase Rettig continuing to throw the ball well, but probably little else.
The Eagles head to Orange County, New York next Saturday to face the Army Black Knights.