Clemson vs. Boston College Prediction: Will BC be a Homecoming feast?


by - Senior Writer -
Clemson takes on Boston College at 7:30 pm Saturday.
Clemson takes on Boston College at 7:30 pm Saturday.

Cooler weather, a night game in Death Valley, and all of the color and pageantry of a Clemson Homecoming. It doesn’t get any better than that.

Among those coming home to Clemson this week is former linebacker Levon Kirkland, who will be enshrined in the Clemson Ring of Honor prior to the game. Inductees must already be in the Athletic Hall of Fame, have a four-year degree and have made a significant contribution to the heritage of Clemson Athletics.

This year's matchup represents the 12th time that Clemson and Boston College will play for the O'Rourke-McFadden Trophy, which the Boston College Gridiron Club began sponsoring in 2008. Clemson has won 10 of the 11 years the trophy has been awarded. The trophy features a leather helmet replica of those used by Charlie O’Rourke of Boston College and Banks McFadden of Clemson when they competed against each other in the 1940 Cotton Bowl in Dallas, Texas. In addition to the trophy presentation, the Boston College Gridiron Club presents a replica leather helmet to the MVP of the winning school in the locker room.

Clemson has won eight in a row in the series.

NO. 4/2 CLEMSON (7-0, 5-0 ACC) vs. BOSTON COLLEGE (4-3, 2-2 ACC)

WHEN: SATURDAY, OCT. 26, 7:30 P.M. ET

WHERE: MEMORIAL STADIUM (81,500) CLEMSON, S.C.

TELEVISION: ACC Network (Dave O'Brien, Tim Hasselbeck, Katie George)

RADIO: Clemson Tigers Network (Don Munson, Tajh Boyd, Tim Bourret, Reggie Merriweather)

**Sirius 133, XM 193, Intetnet 955**

NOTABLE

*Home has been sweet for Clemson in recent years. The Tigers enter Saturday's game having won 19 consecutive games at Memorial Stadium and will be seeking their second home winning streak of 20 games or more in school history. Clemson's school record for consecutive home wins is 21, set across the 2013-16 seasons. In all, Clemson has won 40 of its last 41 contests at Death Valley.

*Saturday's contest will mark a major milestone for a member of Clemson's coaching staff, as the game will represent Offensive Line Coach Robbie Caldwell's 500th career game. Per a survey of sports information directors around the country, Caldwell, now in his 42nd season coaching and his ninth at Clemson, is believed to join Northwestern Defensive Coordinator Mike Hankwitz as the only active FBS coaches to reach the 500-game mark.

*Clemson is outscoring opponents by an average of 28.0 points per game this season. That mark is nearly identical to the 28.6-point margin through seven games produced by Clemson's 2018 squad that became major college football's first 15-0 team since 1897.

*Clemson has held seven straight opponents below 300 yards of total offense and will attempt to hold an opponent below that mark in an eighth straight game for the first time since 1956.

WHEN BC HAS THE BALL

Expect a lot of downhill running from the Eagles.

The Clemson defense has forced seven turnovers in the last two games and has recorded 15 takeaways overall. The Tigers had six sacks, giving them 28, and their 10 interceptions are tied for sixth-most in the country. Overall, the Tigers are ranked fifth nationally in total defense.

Boston College rolled past North Carolina State 45-24 last Saturday. David Bailey had touchdown runs of 54 and 48 yards 2:16 apart in the second quarter as the Eagles rolled up 429 rushing yards against what was the ACC's stingiest run defense. AJ Dillon posted a season-best 223 yards for his fifth straight game of at least 100 and needs 32 yards for his third consecutive 1,000-yard season. His 968 yards rank second in the nation among FBS rushers.

Sophomore quarterback Dennis Grosel, who made his first collegiate start, completed 6 of 15 passes for 103 yards. BC head coach Steve Addazio mentioned earlier this week that the Eagles won’t change their plan of attack, which means a lot of runs, runs, and more runs. Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney expects the same. The Clemson defense has proved vulnerable – at times – in the run game, but one-dimensional teams don’t fare well against Brent Venables.

ADVANTAGE: CLEMSON

WHEN CLEMSON HAS THE BALL

Travis Etienne had back-to-back 100-yard games for the first time this season, with a 49-yard touchdown run highlighting his 192-yard effort in the win over Louisville last week. Etienne is averaging 8.0 yards per carry and also has established career highs of 15 receptions and 128 yards after adding four catches for 35 yards.

Quarterback Trevor Lawrence has completed 63.7 percent of his passes for 1,534 yards and 14 touchdowns against eight interceptions. He has added five rushing scores, but many are questioning whether we are seeing Lawrence at his best. The answer to that? Probably not, but it’s been good enough to date and that’s what matters. My guess is that his first-quarter conversation with Swinney last week – when Swinney said Lawrence was trying to do too much – will continue to pay dividends. Lawrence was lights out in his final two-plus quarters of action last week.

Boston College is known for its tough defense, but the Eagles are 74th nationally in scoring defense (over 28 points per game), 81st in rushing defense (172.43 yards per game), 121st in pass defense (272 yards per game) and 116th in total defense. That’s worse than the two teams Clemson just defeated – Florida St. is 113th and Louisville is 111th.

ADVANTAGE: CLEMSON

SPECIAL TEAMS

The Eagles are average at punter and have a decent kicker in Aaron Boumerhi (6-of-9 on field goals). Danny Longman hits touchbacks half the time (22-of-44) on kickoffs. Travis Levy can be dangerous on punt return, but like Clemson, the Eagles have yet to break a return of any kind this season.

Clemson’s Joseph Ngata is averaging 27 yards per return and looks like he could be close to breaking one. The Tigers have had issues on field goals, but it looks like B.T. Potter has earned his job back.

ADVANTAGE: EVEN

WHAT WILL HAPPEN

Boston College will have some success running the football, but it won’t be enough and the Eagles won’t make enough plays in the passing game to be competitive. Clemson players and coaches have said that they haven’t played their best game, but you can see this team getting better each week.

Trevor Lawrence has his most complete game of the season and Travis Etienne breaks the 100-yard mark for the third straight week as Clemson cruises.

FINAL SCORE: CLEMSON 49, BC 14

Mickey Plyler - 6-9 AM on WCCP 105.5FM - 45-14 Clemson

Tony Crumpton - Associate Editor - 45-13 Clemson

Nikki Hood - Staff writer - 49-7 Clemson

Brandon Rink - Staff writer 48-14 Clemson

Pigskin Prophet - 51-10 Clemson

Game Actual David Hood Mickey Plyler Tony Crumpton Nikki Hood Brandon Rink Pigskin Prophet
Georgia Tech 52-14 CU 44-13 CU 52-17 CU 45-13 CU 42-17 CU 48-13 CU 47-9 CU
Texas A&M 24-10 CU 41-27 CU 37-20 CU 38-24 CU 38-27 CU 45-27 CU 31-23 CU
Syracuse 41-6 CU 40-16 CU 41-17 CU 42-13 CU 42-17 CU 45-13 CU 37-13 CU
Charlotte 52-10 CU 44-13 CU 59-10 CU 49-10 CU 42-17 CU 55-13 CU 49-10 CU
UNC 21-20 CU 45-13 CU 52-17 CU 38-13 CU 47-10 CU 45-10 CU 48-13 CU
Florida State 45-14 CU 41-14 CU 42-20 CU 45-17 CU 52-17 CU 41-17 CU 45-14 CU
Louisville 45-10 CU 45-17 CU 52-20 CU 38-14 CU 56-20 CU 48-17 CU 47-21 CU
Points - 9 9 13 7 7 16

* Points: 3 pts for best prediction of the week (tiebreaker is Clemson score), 2 pts for picking score exactly, 1 pt for picking the correct winner

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