Clemson vs. BC prediction


by - Senior Writer -
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Andre Ellington will be going against an Eagle defense that allows just 2.6 yards per carry.

CLEMSON – The Clemson Tigers face another must-win situation when they head into Chestnut Hills on Saturday to take on a Boston College team that has lost five consecutive games and may be playing in desperation mode. The N.C. State Wolfpack gave the Tigers a gift on Thursday night when they knocked off Florida St., which means the Tigers truly do control their own destiny in regards to the ACC Championship. But that journey begins in Massachusetts.



Clemson at Boston College


When Clemson Has the Ball

Boston College has the 4th-ranked rushing defense in the country, which matches up well with the Tigers’ strength. This might be the best test for Clemson’s offensive line since the Miami game, and they will need to open enough running lanes for Andre Ellington and Jamie Harper to keep the pressure off of quarterback Kyle Parker. Ellington rushed for a career-high 166 yards against Georgia Tech last week, but Boston College’s linebackers and defensive line are better than what the Jackets can throw out there. The Eagles allow just 2.6 yards per carry, which means the Tigers will have to get continued maturation out of wide receivers Nuke Hopkins and Jaron Brown. Look for Clemson to try and throw the ball on first down enough to keep the defense off balance, then try and hit bigger plays in the running game later. Eagle defensive Alex Albright, a senior captain and starter, fractured his fibula last week and is out for the season, which puts more pressure on LBs Luke Kuechly and Mark Herzlich. However, BC’s pass defense hasn’t been as stout as their rush defense, and they muster little pressure on the quarterback, and the secondary might have two starters out on Saturday.


ADVANTAGE – SLIGHT TO CLEMSON


When Boston College Has the Ball

The Eagles have the league’s leading rusher in Montel Harris, and the Tiger defenders will definitely have their eyes on Jamie Harper’s high school teammate. Other than Harris, however, the rest of the Eagles average just three yards a game, so Harris is it. This team struggles on third down – they’ve converted just 30-of-105 attempts, which is 119th nationally – and Clemson will focus on Harris to try and force the Eagles into long third down situations. Freshman quarterback Chase Rettig was thrown into the fire against Notre Dame as head coach Frank Spaziani was forced to burn the youngster’s redshirt. Boston College’s offensive is big and talented, but they’ve had their issues, which doesn’t bode well against Clemson’s deep and talented defensive line. If the Tigers can shut Harris down enough to force the freshman to throw, the secondary could wind up with multiple interceptions. If Harris can run effectively on first and second down and help the freshman signal caller, the Eagles could make enough plays on offense and defense to stay in the game.


ADVANTAGE – CLEMSON





Special Teams

Boston College has a solid kicker in Nate Freese, who has hit 12-of-14 field goal attempts and hit all 14 of his PATs. Punter Ryan Quigley is third in the ACC in punting, right behind Clemson’s Dawson Zimmerman. However, the Eagles don’t have any standouts in the return game, and their coverage teams have been just average. Clemson’s return teams have been solid all season, and Jaron Brown, Marcus Gilchrist and Nuke Hopkins have all had nice punt returns. Chandler Catanzaro is 6-of-9 on field goals. This might be the game a Tiger finally takes a kick back for a touchdown.


ADVANTAGE – CLEMSON


Coaching

Boston College head coach Frank Spaziani has a veteran group of coaches, including offensive coordinator Gary Tranquill, who has coached in college and the NFL. Spaziani has a solid reputation as a coordinator, but his time as head coach has been marred by injuries and the lack of a real playmaker on offense. Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney has faced his own questions this season, but two straight wins and getting back into the ACC race have cooled that fervor somewhat. This is a game the Tigers should win, and have to win.


ADVANTAGE –CLEMSON


BOTTOM LINE

This one has all the makings of a trap game – playing in front of a smaller crowd, the first cooler temps of the season, a team that seems to be reeling, etc. But this one goes down as a must win, and the Clemson players have insisted this week that they aren’t overlooking the Eagles. This is a team that played FSU close in Tallahassee, and they have enough defensive talent to hang around and a good enough kicker in Freese to win it at the end. The Tigers need to jump on top early and force the freshman quarterback into playing catch-up. Look for Ellington to have enough success running to open up the passing game, and Brown and Hopkins make big plays in the passing game.


THE PICK


CLEMSON 31, BOSTON COLLEGE 13




David's previous picks - Actual score

CLEMSON 56, PRESBYTERIAN 6 - CLEMSON 58, PRESBYTERIAN 21

CLEMSON 52, NORTH TEXAS 10 - CLEMSON 35, NORTH TEXAS 10

CLEMSON 26, AUBURN 24 - CLEMSON 24, AUBURN 27

CLEMSON 27, MIAMI 23 - CLEMSON 21, MIAMI 30

CLEMSON 23, NORTH CAROLINA 26 - CLEMSON 15 NORTH CAROLINA 21

CLEMSON 28, MARYLAND 13 - CLEMSON 31 MARYLAND 7

CLEMSON 24, GEORGIA TECH 20 - CLEMSON 24 GEORGIA TECH 13

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