Topic: David Hale on BC win and DJU
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David Hale on BC win and DJU

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Posted: Nov 1, 2020, 8:45 AM

In the real world, where typical human beings react to unreal situations with shock and amazement, Boston College's 18-point lead late in the first half over Clemson on Saturday seemed like a big deal. After all, think about how the previous 72 hours wreaked havoc with college football's status quo.

Trevor Lawrence, the game's best player, was announced Thursday to have tested positive for COVID-19. He has to miss at least 10 days following the positive test, which left everyone wondering about Clemson's Nov. 7 date with Notre Dame. We all skipped right past Saturday's game against Boston College, because an upset of that magnitude seemed too far-fetched to consider.

And then CJ Lewis scored with a little more than a minute left in the first half, giving the Eagles an 18-point lead over a team that had won the ACC five years in a row, triumphed in 30 straight regular-season games and was favored by four touchdowns.

For most college football fans, this was a huge deal.

For D.J. Uiagalelei -- the Tigers' true freshman quarterback and understudy for Lawrence, the Heisman Trophy favorite -- the reaction was a little more measured.

"Being down 18," Uiagalelei said, "that's not a lot of points."

See, Uiagalelei isn't like the rest of us. He stepped in front of a camera for a video conference after top-ranked Clemson's near-record-setting come-from-behind 34-28 win wearing a gold chain around his neck that read "Big Cinco." All while he sipped a protein shake through a straw with the type of detached coolness of Samuel L. Jackson in "Pulp Fiction."

Big Cinco is a nickname a high school teammate gave him, and Uiagalelei liked it. He had a little extra scratch after a stipend check this summer, so he bought the bling. It's some West Coast swagger, he said.

Taking over for Lawrence on short notice? No worries. He was in the film room Thursday afternoon when Clemson coach Dabo Swinney walked through the door with a scowl. Uiagalelei assumed he was in trouble. Had he tweeted something he shouldn't have? Nope, his coach just wanted to let him know Lawrence was out and Uiagalelei would be starting.

That's pretty cool, Uiagalelei thought. Then back to film.

A few minutes before that, Swinney stuck his head into offensive coordinator Tony Elliott's office to deliver the news. Elliott had just come from getting a haircut, which was good. Because finding out on Thursday afternoon that your entire game plan was thrown into flux would have been enough to force most playcallers to rip their hair out in frustration. But Elliott knew what he had in Uiagalelei. "We're good," he thought.

The game plan didn't change.

Uiagalelei woke up Saturday morning and, he said, it took him a second to remember what he had planned for the day: "Oh right, I'm starting today."

Before the game, Uiagalelei -- the top QB in the 2020 class out of California -- got a text message from one of his heroes.

"I've got complete faith in you," the text message read. It was from Reggie Bush. That, Uiagalelei said, was pretty cool.

Once the game started, Uiagalelei looked the part of an elite QB. He dished out a plethora of short throws and a few lasers, moving the offense consistently despite some struggles from the ground game. The problem wasn't the true freshman at quarterback. It was everything else. The defense looked lost against BC's passing attack. Running back Travis Etienne, who would go on to set the ACC career rushing record in the third quarter, found little room to run. Then at the goal line, with Clemson threatening to tie the game, Etienne fumbled, and BC returned it for a 97-yard score.

All of that should have been enough to turn college football on its head. Instead, we got a sneak peek at the next great Clemson QB, the son of a former celebrity security guard who couldn't have been less overwhelmed by the moment.

"I just tried to keep it simple," Uiagalelei said. "My job's not too hard."

Right. True freshmen QBs erase 18-point deficits in their first starts with a possible playoff berth on the line all the time.

Even the play that served as a turning point in the game offered little room to showboat. Uiagalelei ran 30 yards on fourth-and-1 for a touchdown, pulling the Tigers to within eight. All he was worried about was what the film would look like if he got caught from behind. The last thing he wanted was to look like Daniel Jones, tripping on his way into the end zone.

"I didn't want to get made fun of," Uiagalelei said.

Good luck to whichever misguided fool would've made that joke.

Instead, the joke seems to be on all of us. Oh, you thought Clemson would miss the best QB in the sport? Nope. You thought Boston College would pull the upset? Hah, 18 points is nothing. You think Notre Dame is going to have a big edge next week when Lawrence misses his second consecutive game? Bet against Big Cinco and the Tigers at your own risk.


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Good read. Thanks for the share.***

Posted: Nov 1, 2020, 8:57 AM


Enjoyed that. Thanks JD!

Posted: Nov 1, 2020, 8:57 AM

?????????? for Big Cinco!

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Somebody gets it.

Posted: Nov 1, 2020, 9:10 AM

And gets it good.

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