Tigers Take Thriller From Boston College, 27-21


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Dabo Swinney's first win as Clemson's interim head coach came with the required amount of sweat.

A 17-point lead evaporated and C.J. Spiller wobbled off the field in the third quarter after a hit left him dazed, leaving Clemson in familiar territory -- staring at the wrong end of the score.

A fourth-quarter touchdown and fieldgoal, though, gave Clemson a 27-21 win -- its first win in four games, possibly restoring some confidence to a team that hadn't had many confidence building moments this season.

Clemson carried a 17-7 lead into the fourth quarter, but watched it dissappear on a blocked punt that was returned for a touchdown and then a touchdown after an interception on the first play of Clemson's next drive. Chris Crane's 15-yard touchdown pass to Brandon Robinson with 8:43 left in the game gave Boston College a 21-17 lead after they had trailed 17-0.

However, Spiller reappeared on the next play and turned the game back in Clemson's favor. He returned the kickoff 64 yards to the Boston College 15-yard line. Five plays later Cullen Harper completed a 4-yard touchdown pass to Aaron Kelly to give Clemson the lead again, 24-21.

Boston College fumbled three plays into its next drive on its own 40-yard line, leading to a 42-yard fieldgoal by Mark Buckholtz with 2:51 left. The Eagles didn't gain a first down on its final drive, giving Clemson the win and leaving Swinney with a Gatorade shower to wash off any sweat.

"We knew they were going to come back," said Spiller. "They do it every time we play them."

Clemson took its lead in the first half on a 24-yard run by James Davis, a 2-yard run by Harper and a Buckholtz 27-yard field goal. Spiller was instrumental in both touchdown drives. He had a 56-yard run on the first drive and a 45-yard reception to the 2-yard line on the second.

Boston College helped out by missing fieldgoals from 31 and 37 yards in the first half as well as fumbling on the Clemson 30.

However, Clemson's second ACC win of the season wasn't going to be so easy, even if it had to help Boston College in the comeback.

Harper threw an interception deep in Clemson's own territory to set up Boston College's first touchdown, a 1-yard run by Josh Haden with 9:44 left in the third quarter. A blocked punt that was returned for a touchdown and another Harper interception gave Boston College the lead.

"They lost three games in a row, they could have tanked it," said Swinney, who saw his team even its record at 4-4. "Everybody bought in. It was a very emotional night."

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