Easy Friday: Third-ranked Clemson thrashes BC 56-10


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<span style=Photo by Stew Milne / USATODAY">
Photo by Stew Milne / USATODAY

CHESTNUT HILL, MA – Friday night was about as easy as it gets for Clemson at Boston College.

The third-ranked Tigers rolled out to a quick 21-3 lead and never looked back as they improved to 6-0 on the season with a 56-10 thrashing of the Eagles at Alumni Stadium. It was the 81st career victory for head coach Dabo Swinney at the site of his first career victory back in 2008.

Quarterback Deshaun Watson finished the night 14-of-24 for 266 yards and four touchdowns, two of which went to Deon Cain. Wayne Gallman had nine carries but earned 109 yards to lead all rushers. Cain had three catches for 68 yards.

Clemson is now 6-0 overall and 3-0 in conference play, while Boston College falls to 3-3 overall, with all three losses coming inside the conference. The Eagles have lost 11 consecutive conference games.

Boston College entered the game leading the nation in total defense at just 202 yards per game and 16th in scoring defense at just over 17 points per game, and the Tigers obliterated both of those marks in the first quarter.

The first break of the game went the Eagles’ way. Both teams punted after their initial possession, but Ray-Ray McCloud didn’t catch the Eagles’ punt cleanly and turned the ball over at the Clemson nine. The Clemson defense held, however, and Boston College settled for a 21-yard field goal from Mike Knoll and a 3-0 lead.

The Tigers answered in a big way. Three pass plays and three completions gave the Tigers a first down, and Gallman did the rest, shaking off a tackler at the line of scrimmage and racing down the left sideline for a 59-yard touchdown run and a 7-3 Clemson lead. It was the longest play from scrimmage for the Tigers this season.

The Tigers weren’t done. On the ensuing possession, Watson hit Mike Williams on a deep ball down the right side, with Williams laying out to catch the 50-yarder. Three plays later, Watson hit Williams on a fade in the end zone from nine yards out for a 14-3 lead.

Clemson’s defense forced a three-and-out on Boston College, and a short Eagle punt turned into a 56-yard pitch-and-catch from Watson to Leggett, and the Tigers held a 21-3 lead late in the first quarter.

Boston College then put together the game’s longest drive, driving 79 yards on 13 plays and getting inside the Clemson one. On fourth-and-goal inside the one, Eagle quarterback Patrick Towles bobbled the snap and was tackled at the two, turning the ball over to Clemson on downs.

Clemson’s offense stayed in a shell and the Tigers were unable to mount a scoring threat while Boston College continued to march into Clemson territory. BC’s final drive ended when Towles, attempting to elude Ben Boulware with 25 seconds left on the clock in half, took a shot to the shoulder pads from Boulware and coughed up the football. The original call was targeting on Boulware, but the review showed it was a clean hit and Clemson took over with 21 seconds remaining.

Watson hit Deon Cain over the middle for 23 yards to the Eagle 21, but Cain failed to go down and the clock ran out in the half with Clemson holding an 18-point lead.

Clemson’s defense forced a punt on the first possession of the second half, and Cain atoned for his earlier mistake. The Tigers went 63 yards in just four plays – Artavis Scott had two first down receptions – and Watson hit Cain from 29 yards out and the Tigers led 28-3 with 11:38 to play in the third quarter.

Once again the defense held, and Clemson once again put a touchdown on the board. McCloud’s short punt return gave Clemson the ball at their own 41, and it took the Tigers seven plays and just over two minutes to score. Gallman had two tough carries on the drive, setting up a 16-yard toss from Watson to Cain for the score. Cain caught the pass in the flat, then made a spin move – the defender grasped air – and he waltzed into the end zone for his sixth touchdown reception on the season.

Swinney then went for an onside kick – reminiscent of what Alabama pulled against Clemson in the title game – but the ball bounced out of bounds, and it set up the Eagles’ first touchdown of the night, a one-yard toss from Towles to Bobby Wolford.

Clemson then put together its longest drive of the night – 12 plays, 55 yards and 3:46 off the clock – culminating in a three-yard touchdown run by Tyshon Dye that put Clemson up 42-10 with 11:41 to play in the game. It was Dye’s first touchdown of the season.

Speedy freshman Tavien Feaster put the exclamation point on the evening, turning a quick sweep into a 45-yard touchdown run late in the fourth quarter for the final points.

However, the Tigers weren’t done scoring as Mark Fields returned his first career interception for a 42-yard touchdown in the closing minutes.

The Tigers return to action next week against N.C. State for Homecoming. The game will kick off at noon. The Wolfpack (3-1) host Notre Dame Saturday.


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