Clemson at Boston College: Clemson Offense vs. BC Defense

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Sep 20, 2014; Boston, MA, USA; Boston College defensive lineman

Brian Mihalik

(99) tries to shed the block of Maine running back Nigel Beckford (40) during the second half at Alumni Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

Clemson Offense vs. BC Defense: Stat Analysis

At the half-way point of the season, who would have ever thought the Eagles would have the number eight total defense in the country? I mean, aside from Coach Brown and the players?

The results have not always been there this year, but even though they have lost guys like DL Mehdi Abdesmad (injury) and CB Bryce Jones (dismissal), there is little doubt that the overall defensive product for Boston College has been better. Not elite, and probably not even very good until proven consistently, but better.

Meanwhile, for a team averaging 37.5 points per game, Clemson’s offense is not quite high-octane. In fact, they scored no offensive touchdowns last week against Louisville in a 229-yard performance. Less impressive defenses than the Cardinals have been ill-equipped to stop the Tigers, but some of those games featured freshman QB Deshaun Watson, who is out with a broken finger. Cole Stoudt, who was the original starter, is back under center.

Watson had only ten more pass attempts this season but his bottom-line stats blew Stoudt’s away; in spite of that, he’s not great, and he’s not terrible. Our ACC brethren at Rubbing the Rock use the phrase “game manager” to describe Stoudt in a complimentary way.

Clemson Offense vs. BC Defense: Key Matchups

(1) Stoudt vs. his doubters. Clemson fans saw what they had in Watson after benching Stoudt, so having to go back to him is kind of like a cold shower. He has not been flashy, but he needs to have a good game (or, at least not be a liability to his team). (2) Stoudt vs. the BC pass rush. As we saw in the Colorado State game, Boston College’s secondary, like all secondaries, is prone to breakdowns when the blitz gets figured out. Does he pick the Eagles apart or do the Eagles clamp down like they did for the most part against NC State?

Clemson Offense vs. BC Defense: Final Analysis

There are other names we have not mentioned until now, like leading Clemson rusher Adam Choice — with 205 yards and one touchdown. The Boston College running game it ain’t. Also, Clemson leading receiver Mike Williams, with 543 yards and four touchdowns — all four thrown by Watson.

The Tigers don’t have much of a run game, and at this point, we honestly do not know what Clemson is capable of doing with their passing game until we see Stoudt step back into the role, though somewhat of a drop-off is plausible.

As for Boston College, this could go a couple different ways: some good, some bad. Like with Clemson, we do not know which Eagles team is going to show on Saturday afternoon, but there would seem to be more uncertainty about the Tigers offense.

Not by a lot, and there is no question that Clemson has talent on that side of the football, but uncertainty.

Clemson Offense vs. BC Defense: Slight tilt towards BC