The #3 Clemson Tigers trailed at home entering the fourth quarter, but found their way to a 24-14 victory over the Boston College Eagles on Saturday evening.
With the loss, the Eagles drop to 3-3 (1-2) on the season while Clemson remains undefeated.
Boston College played a competitive game against the Tigers for most of the sixty minutes, making a number of stops while the home team made a number of crucial mistakes, including turnovers and bad penalties. The Eagles struck first in the second quarter after a long touchdown run by Myles Willis, and Clemson got a field goal back as time expired to avoid their first pre-halftime shutout in three years. Clemson kicker Chandler Catanzaro previously missed a field-goal attempt while Tigers special teams botched another.
As it turns out, the Eagles would go on to regret not converting on the turnover opportunities they were afforded early.
Clemson would eventually retake the lead on a Sammy Watkins touchdown, but several plays later, the Eagles hit back with a 69-yard touchdown bomb from Chase Rettig to Alex Amidon. Those were the last points the Eagles would score on the afternoon.
The Tigers then went on a touchdown-scoring drive to retake the lead again at 17-14, and as the Eagles needed a response, Chase Rettig fumbled the ball on a sack deep in his own territory, which was recovered by Clemson for a touchdown.
Boston College’s end-of-game management was poor, as the Eagles were rattled, the playcalling became suspect, and the clock was not properly handled. Amongst other things, the Eagles punted down two scores, with no timeouts remaining, mid-way through the fourth quarter, and they ran on 4th & 17 with the game on the line, effectively conceding.
The bad things Boston College did at the end of the game took away from what was otherwise an inspiring performance by a team that did not have a good matchup on paper but played with a great deal of heart. It was far from mistake-free, and it took Clemson quite a while to get themselves into the game, but give the Eagles credit for slowing down a high-powered offense and making this a game going into the fourth quarter. They outplayed Clemson for a lengthy stretch of the contest, and that cannot be overlooked.
If the Eagles are going to contend again someday, they will have to learn how to close out games. On Saturday afternoon, they did not, and fell to a superior team. Boston College had a real chance of victory but could not finish, and that must change.
The Eagles will return to the road in two weeks as they play the North Carolina Tar Heels; next weekend is a bye.