Final BC thoughts

by - Senior Writer -
Hopkins will once again be the focal point of the Clemson
offense with Watkins out.

BOSTON, MA – Friday in Boston was like a continuous Clemson commercial.

We flew into Boston on Thursday, just so I could show my son some parts of Boston he has never seen, and Friday we rambled around downtown Boston, riding the “T” and checking out all of the historical landmarks.

It was amazing how many other Clemson fans were downtown, and whenever we would pass large groups either the cadence count would break out or people would yell, “Go Tigers.” Of course, it’s natural to ask some of the Clemson fans where they live, and I ran into fans that live just a few miles from my house. We also ran into several Clemson fans who are from this part of the world and the game at Boston College is really their only chance to see Clemson play live. We ran into fans from upstate New York, Pennsylvania and even Maine.

It was also a chance to educate a ton of other folks about Clemson – many would see the orange or the paw and ask about the players they know [Watkins, Boyd, etc], while others would ask where Clemson is located, and then there were many others who would say they pulled for other schools but “just liked” Clemson because of Death Valley, the Hill and the tradition.

Some other random thoughts before the game….

*There are very few teams in the country that could lose a player like Sammy WatkinsSammy Watkins
So. Wide Receiver
#2 6-1, 205
Fort Myers, FL

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and still feel like there were plenty of other playmakers to take up the slack. However, Watkins is one of the team’s fastest players, and he gives the Tigers that breakaway threat that Chad MorrisChad Morris
Offensive Coordinator / QBs
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’ offense needs. Martavis BryantMartavis Bryant
So. Wide Receiver
#1 6-5, 200
Calhoun Falls, SC

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is another speed guy, and he is also out, so that means Clemson will be going into the Boston College game with just four main scholarship receivers – Nuk Hopkins, Charone PeakeCharone Peake
So. Wide Receiver
#19 6-3, 200
Moore, SC

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, Jaron BrownJaron Brown
Gr. Wide Receiver
#18 6-2, 205
Cheraw, SC

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and Adam HumphriesAdam Humphries
So. Wide Receiver
#16 5-11, 190
Spartanburg, SC

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As I walked around Boston Friday, my phone was blowing up with people who were wondering if the Tigers could win without Watkins and Bryant. My answer: of course they can, because in effect they have had plenty of practice. Watkins missed the first two games of the season serving his suspension, and Bryant had just two receptions, although both went for touchdowns.

Hopkins set a school single-game record with 13 catches against Auburn and tallied 22 catches for 224 yards and four scores in Watkins’ absence. He will obviously be the focal point of the passing game Saturday, but don’t go to sleep on Peake and Humphries, who had 19 catches combined in Watkins’ absence.

Jaron Brown – who struggled with drops just two years ago – is now known for making tough catches, and I love the way he blocks downfield. Add in the continued emergence of tight end Brandon FordBrandon Ford
Gr. Tight End
#80 6-4, 240
Wando, SC

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, and the Tigers still have more weapons than most teams. Losing Watkins is definitely a blow – there are so many things Morris can do when Watkins is on the field, like we saw last week – but the Tigers are well-equipped to weather the storm in Chestnut Hill Saturday.

*Although Boston College didn’t join the ACC until 2005, the two programs do share some interesting history. How many Clemson fans remember that Doug Flutie played against the Tigers? In 1983, at Chestnut Hill, the Eagles gained a 31-16 win behind Flutie. Clemson had a 16-3 lead with 25 minutes left in the game, but the Eagles went on a 28-0 run to end the contest. The 1984 Heisman winner, Flutie was 20-36 for 223 yards and two touchdowns against a Clemson defense that featured All-American William Perry. The Eagles gained 504 yards of total offense on the night, 281 rushing and 223 passing. It was Clemson’s only loss in 1983 (9-1-1).

Also, the two teams played in the first-ever game broadcast by CBS from Memorial Stadium. That happened in a 1982 game in Death Valley, and was televised by CBS on a regional basis. Clemson had a 14-0 lead at intermission, but Flutie led Boston College back to take a 17-14 lead. The Tigers tied the game in the fourth quarter, on a field goal by Donald Igwebuike, who played soccer and football for the Tigers that fall. He then had another attempt from 43 yards with eight seconds left, but the kick missed and the game ended in a 17-17 tie.

*A lot of people think Clemson has struggled at Boston College because of the less-than-stellar environment and I get that. But, if I had to be honest, I would say that Clemson’s struggles against the Eagles – especially when Clemson was coached by Tommy Bowden – were more a result of Clemson being a finesse team and Boston College being built more like Big 10 teams. They had big offensive and defensive linemen and good linebacker play, and Clemson simply struggled to matchup on the lines. If you lack a lot of speed on the field, that is a nightmare matchup. I don’t think it’s any coincidence that a healthy C.J. SpillerC.J. Spiller
Pro Running Back
#28 5-11, 195
Lake Butler, FL

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had a big day in 2008 to help Clemson head coach Dabo SwinneyDabo Swinney
Head Coach
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get his first win, and the Tigers have won three of four under Swinney.

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