Quick hits Boston College: Tigers' strong effort dooms Eagles


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

CHESTNUT HILL, MA – It looked like No. 3 Clemson was going to put Boston College away early Friday night at Alumni Stadium, but the second quarter looked a lot like last Saturday’s third quarter against Louisville.

Just like last week, Clemson got better when it counted and the Tigers beat Boston College 56-10 at Alumni Stadium.

Head coach Dabo Swinney has been saying he wants his team to play a clean and complete game, but the second quarter showed this team still has work to do but the second half was the kind of closing effort Swinney has been looking for.

The Eagles ran 25 plays in the quarter to just 13 for Clemson, and the Tigers continued to throw it on early downs despite the fact that Wayne Gallman had exploded for an earlier 59-yard run. Gallman rushed for over 100 yards for the 15th time in his career, tying Raymond Priester for the Clemson record.

*Clemson was one of only eight teams coming into the weekend that didn’t have a play of 50 yards or more. The Tigers scored three plays of over 50 yards in a span of 4:08 – a 59-yard run by Wayne Gallman, a 50-yard pass to Mike Williams and a 56-yard touchdown pass to Jordan Leggett.

*On Wayne Gallman’s 59-yard touchdown run, Deshaun Watson was an integral part of springing him with a nice block inside. Jordan Leggett also had a seal block to keep the defender from getting to Gallman.

*Ray-Ray McCloud is a special talent, but his first quarter fumble on a punt set up the Eagles’ first score, a 21-yard field goal. He had another mistake on special teams earlier this season and had a pass bounce off his shoulder pads for an interception last week against the Cardinals. McCloud then bobbled the first punt of the second half, but held onto this one to retain possession.

*Another receiver made a big mistake late in the first half. The Tigers were trying to set up a late field goal in the middle of the field. Deshaun Watson hit Deon Cain for a 23-yarder, but Cain continued to run towards the sideline and only went down as the final second ticked off the clock. Swinney and Cain walked off the field together, and Swinney was letting Cain know his thoughts.

*Watson came back to Cain on Clemson’s first drive of the second half and found him out-racing the defensive back to endzone for a 29-yard touchdown and then again later in the third quarter on a third-down play that Cain broke loose for a 16-yard score. Cain leads all Clemson receivers with six touchdowns.

*Replay works. Linebacker Ben Boulware was called for targeting on a second quarter BC drive when quarterback Patrick Towles attempted to elude a tackle. Boulware hit Towles high, and Towles’ head snapped back as he lost the ball and hit the turf. The original call would have seen Boulware thrown out of the game, but replays showed Boulware hit Towles with his hands in the shoulder pad area.

*Clemson doesn’t usually go with a lot of trickery up big, but Dabo Swinney tried an onside kick up 35-3. It was eerily similar – if not the exact same play – Alabama called against Clemson in the national championship. It didn’t pay off for the Tigers as Boston College scored its first touchdown of the game after having the short field.

*Clemson offense was very balanced Friday night. The Tigers ran 60 plays – 25 passing and 35 rushing – while amassing over 500 yards for the second consecutive game. Watson finished the night 14-of-24 for 266 yards and four touchdowns. Gallman led all rushers with nine carries for 109 yards – a 12.1 yards per carry clip – and a score. Deon Cain had three catches four 67 yards and three touchdowns.

*Five running backs – Gallman, Adam Choice, C.J. Fuller, Tyshon Dye and Tavien Feaster – all had carries in the game and three scored touchdowns. The Tigers also played three quarterbacks – Watson, Nick Schuessler and Kelly Bryant.

*BC has given up 40-plus points in consecutive ACC games and lost its 11th straight conference game.

*Christian Wilkins went down with an ankle injury in the fourth quarter. Tremayne Anchrum left in the second quarter with a lower leg injury.

*Austin Bryant – who missed the first five games after suffering a broken fifth metatarsil in fall camp – traveled to Boston College but never played. Could he be looking at a redshirt after missing the first six games? That could all depend on the severity of Wilkins’ injury.

*Freshman Tavien Feaster gave Clemson fans a glimpse of the future with a 45-yard touchdown run late in the fourth quarter. His speed – he took a quick pitch and blazed his way into the end zone – is a difference maker. Clemson will need more of him as the season progresses.

*Mark Fields’ first career interception turned into points for the Tigers. He stepped in front of a Darius Wade pass late and returned it 42 yards for the score. He did it on the side of the field usually covered by Cordrea Tankersley, who rarely comes out of the game.

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