Clemson-Boston College Game Notes

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Clemson and BC Look To Return to Win Column

Clemson and Boston College will both look to return to the victory column after difficult losses last weekend when the two teams meet at noon today. Both lost home games as top 25 teams to teams from the state of Florida who were also ranked in the top 25.

The Tigers had the longer game as Miami (FL) downed Clemson 36-30 in triple overtime, the first overtime loss in Clemson history after five victories. It was the longest game in Clemson history in terms of overtime periods and in terms of time. The game took 4:10 to play, longer by 12 minutes than the double overtime game against Wake Forest in the season opener of 2004.

Boston College had a 17-14 lead in the second half, then dropped a 28-17 decision to Bobby Bowden and the Florida State Seminoles. It was the first ACC game for Boston College, who had been in the Big East Conference prior to moving to the Atlantic Coast.

Clemson has been playing a lot of close games of late. In fact, nine of the last 14 Clemson games have been decided by seven points or less and all nine have been decided by a play inside the last minute. That includes all three games so far this year. Jad Dean kicked a 44-yard field goal with two seconds left to beat Texas A&M. Reggie Merriweather raced 38 yards for a score with 2:58 left against Maryland, then the Clemson defense stopped the Maryland offense with 47 seconds remaining.

While Clemson has had nine games in the last two years decided by seven points or less, Boston College has had just three. A year ago Wake Forest beat the Eagles in Winston-Salem 17-14 and Pittsburgh defeated Boston College 20-17 in overtime. The only victory for Boston College by seven points or less in the last two years is a 24-23 win at Notre Dame last season.

Boston College has not had a game decided by 10 points or less yet this year. The Eagles of Tom O'Brien started he year with a 20-3 win at Brigham Young, then defeated Army in Boston 44-7. Then, Florida State took an 11-point decision in the third game of the year.

When you look at Clemson's stats for this year you can see why all three games have come down to the wire. Clemson has been outscored by the opposition by one point, 84-83, there is just a 17-yard total offense differential between Clemson and the opposition (1066-1049) in the three games, and both Clemson and the opposition have the same number of rushing first downs, 24-24.

Whitehurt Looks for win over 10th Different ACC Team

Charlie Whitehurst is already the first quarterback in ACC history to defeat nine different ACC teams. He turned the trick last year when he was victorious at Miami (FL). He will get a chance to defeat a 10th different ACC team when the Tigers take on Boston College on Saturday afternoon. This will be the first opportunity for Whitehurst against the Eagles, who are playing just their second ACC game, their first ACC road game.

Whitehurst has a 12-9 record against ACC teams and the 12 wins have come against nine different teams. The native of Duluth, GA is 2-1 against Duke, 2-2 vs. Maryland, 2-0 vs. North Carolina, 1-1 vs. Florida State, 1-1 vs. Georgia Tech, 1-1 vs. Miami (FL), 1-1 vs. NC State and 1-1 vs. Wake Forest and 1-1 vs. Virginia.

After Saturday, the only ACC team Whitehurst has not started against will be Virginia Tech. To defeat the Hokies, the Tigers will have to get to the ACC Championship game on December 3 because the two teams do not meet in the regular season.

In terms of records in various situations, Whitehurst is 13-4 at home, 6-7 away, 1-1 at neutral sites, 8-3 in non-conference games, 12-9 in ACC games, 7-3 in ACC home games and 5-6 in ACC road games. The 8-3 non-conference record includes a 3-0 mark against South Carolina. On November 19 he will have a chance to become the first quarterback in Clemson history to defeat the Gamecocks four times.

Whitehurst already owns or co-owns 38 Clemson records and another should move to his column at the start of today's game. Whitehurst has started 32 consecutive games as Clemson's quarterback, tying the record held by Tommy Kendrick, who started 32 in a row from 1969-71. Whitehurst has a 20-12 records as a starting quarterback in the previous 32.

Whitehurst Sets Clemson Career TD Pass Record

Clemson quarterback Charlie Whitehurst became Clemson's career leader in touchdown passes when he completed a five-yard scoring pass to Curtis Baham on fourth down in the first overtime of Clemson's 36-30 triple overtime loss to Miami. It was his second TD pass of the day and fourth of the season. It gave him 42 touchdown passes for his career, one ahead of former teammate Woodrow Dantzler, who had 41 between 1998-01.

Whitehurst also tied the Clemson record for pass attempts in that game with 55. Patrick Sapp had 55 in a loss at Maryland in 1992. Whitehurst's 31 completions in the Miami game were the second most in Clemson history, trailing only the 34 he had at Duke in 2002, his first career start.

Clemson gained 378 yards of total offense against Miami (FL) and Whitehurst had 346 of them on his stat line, 288 passing and a career high 58 rushing. It marked the first time Whitehurst had led the Tigers in rushing in a game. The 346 yards rank as his second best single game figure of his four year career and the ninth highest total for any quarterback in Clemson history. Whitehurst's career high in terms of total offense is 414 for that Duke game in 2002.

Boston College Update

Boston College played its first ACC game against Bobby Bowden in Chestnut Hill, MA last weekend and now must play its first ACC road game against Clemson and head coach Tommy Bowden this weekend. This will be Boston College's first trip to Death Valley since 1982 when Doug Flutie quarterback the Eagles to a 17-17 tie against a Clemson team that would finish the year with a 9-1-1 record and a number-eight final Associated Press ranking.

Boston College has a 2-1 record and the key for the Eagles has been a strong defense. One stat to watch today will be rushing. The Eagles rank third in the nation in rushing defense, allowing just 39 yards per game, a figure that also leads the ACC. Boston College has allowed just 38 points in three games, 15th best in the nation, and has given up just 281 yards per game, 22nd best in the country.

The leader of the Boston College defense is 6-7, 261-pound defensive end Mathias Kiwanuka. Kiwanuka was the Big East Defensive Player of the Year in 2004 and his statistics were enough to impress many of the ACC Sportswriters in the off-season, as he was named the preseason ACC Defensive Player of the Year. Last year, the native of Indianapolis, IN had 25.5 tackles for loss among his 67 tackles. He earned his 2005 reputation among the ACC media off an incredible performance in the Continental Tire Bowl last year when he had five tackles for loss against North Carolina. He led the Big East in sacks last year with 11.5.

The Boston College offense has been strong via the run over the years, especially under Head Coach Tom O'Brien. In fact, Boston College has had six 1000-yard rushers in the last seven seasons, and last year a committee of three running backs combined for over 1500 yards. LV. Whitworth is carrying on the tradition this year with 238 rushing yards in three games off 55 carries and he will be a player the Tigers defense will key on.

Will Blackmon is an outstanding all-around receiver who leads the club with 13-172 and two touchdowns receiving, to go with 57 kickoff return yards and 29 punt return yards. He has 279 all-purpose running yards, just one less than Whitworth.

Quarterback Quinton Porter and Matt Ryan are a combined 76-105 for 761 yards and five touchdowns. That is a 145.17 passing efficiency ratio, which is 27th best in the nation. Porter sat out last year with an injury, but he was playing well this year until he suffered an injury against Florida State.

If this game comes down to a field goal both coaches will be set. Clemson's Jad Dean is third in the nation in with 9-10 made. Boston College's Ryan Ohliger is 4-5 on field goals and is the team's leading scorer with 20 points.

O'Brien Has Been to Death Valley

As stated above, Boston College has not played at Clemson since the 1982 season, but that doesn't mean this will be the first appearance in Death Valley for Boston College Head Coach Tom O'Brien. From 1982-96, O'Brien was an assistant coach at Virginia under George Welsh.

During that time, Clemson had the upper hand in games in Clemson Memorial Stadium by a 5-1-1 margin. The tie came in 1991 when the two teams played to a 20-20 draw. The NCAA overtime rule did not come into effect until 1996 and as long as the overtime rule exits, that 1991 game with Virginia will be remembered as the last tie in Clemson football history.

O'Brien was a part of two firsts in Virginia football history when it came to the series with Clemson. In 1990, at Charlottesville, Virginia defeated Clemson 20-7, ending Clemson's 29-game winning streak in the series. In 1995, Virginia defeated Clemson in Death Valley 22-3, the first win for the Cavaliers in Clemson Memorial Stadium.

So, you can see O'Brien has a strong ACC background. He played for Welsh at the US Navel Academy and graduated from that institution in 1971. He joined the Navy staff under Welsh in 1975 and moved with Welsh to Virginia in 1982. He then took the Boston College head coaching position in 1997 and has been with the Eagle program ever since.

O'Brien's list of accomplishments includes a five-game bowl winning streak, the only Division I college football coach who has won a bowl game each of the last five years.

Clemson Defense Solid vs. Miami

The NCAA overtime rule can play havoc with the evaluation of various statistics. That is the case with Clemson's defensive performance against Miami (FL) in the most recent game, a 36-30 Miami triple overtime win. Miami scored 16 of its 36 points in the three overtime periods, which will hurt Clemson's scoring defense stats all year. The same goes for total offense and yards per game, as Miami gained 73 yards in the overtime.

Through the 60 minutes of regulation, the Hurricanes gained just 264 yards of total offense, 49 yards less than they gained against Florida State's famed defensive unit. The Hurricanes threw for just 109 yards on 23 pass attempts during regulation as Vic Koenning's defensive unit allowed less than five yards per pass attempt. Clemson allowed just 5-14 third-down conversions in regulation and allowed just 15 first downs. Miami gained just 4.0 yards per play during regulation.

Anthony Waters led Clemson in tackles for the second consecutive game in the Miami loss with 11. C.J. Gaddis had his second consecutive double figure tackle game with 10, while Sergio Gilliam had a career high nine stops, including one behind the line of scrimmage.

Bennett Posts Top Game

Senior defensive end Charles Bennett had his best game of the young 2005 season and the second best tackle game of his career when he had eight tackles against Miami (FL). The native of Camden, SC had five first hits and three assists for his eight tackles. Two of the eight were behind the line of scrimmage, including an eight-yard sack on Miami's last possession of regulation, a stop that gave Clemson the ball back with a chance to tie the game. He also had three quarterback pressures in the Miami game.

Bennett's career high for tackles in a game is 10, recorded at Florida State last year, a game in which he also had two tackles for loss. The sack against Miami (FL) was the seventh of his career and the first this season. The Miami game was his 13th career start, he has now started every game over the last two years with the exception of the Texas A&M game in 2004.

Clemson Limiting Mistakes
One hallmark of Clemson's offense under offensive coordinator Rob Spence has been efficiency and a lack of mistakes. Clemson did not commit a turnover for its first 213 offensive snaps of the season, or until Charlie Whitehurst threw an interception on the last play of the third overtime against Miami. Clemson is ranked 19th in the nation in turnover margin entering this week's game. That is dramatically improved over last year when Clemson ranked 99th in the nation in turnover margin.

Most coaches will tell you that winning the turnover statistic, or limiting turnovers on offense will usually lead to victory. That has been the case with Clemson. The Tigers have won 11 consecutive games dating to 2002 when it wins the turnover margin stat (forces more turnovers than it commits). Clemson is 28-7 under Bowden when the Tigers win the turnover margin stat. Clemson has had 11 games under Tommy Bowden when it has not committed a turnover on offense and the Tigers are 10-1 in those games.

Another area that shows the discipline of this Clemson team is penalty differential. Clemson leads the ACC in fewest penalties committed with just 11 for 87 yards in the first three games. The opposition has had 31 for 285 yards. That is 20 more penalties for 198 more penalty yards for the opposition so far this year. The NCAA does not keep a stat for penalty differential, but one would think Clemson leads the nation in that category.

Clemson in Top 15 of Sagarin

Clemson is one of just three schools nationally to rank among the top 15 teams in the nation in overall ranking and in schedule ranking. Clemson, 2-1 through the first three games, has a team rating of 85.69, 14th best in the nation. Clemson has a schedule ranking of 81.63, good enough for 11th in the nation. Clemson, Miami (FL) and LSU are the only schools in the nation to rank in the top 15 in both areas.

Clemson has finished in the top 25 of both the Sagarin ranking and the Sagarin schedule ranking twice under Tommy Bowden. That took place in 1999 when Clemson was 24 in the overall rating and seventh in the schedule ranking, and in 2003 when Clemson was ranked 17th overall and had the 23rd toughest schedule.

Clemson is one of just three schools with a loss ranked among the top 15 teams in the nation by Sagarin this week. Miami (FL), who defeated Clemson last week in triple overtime, and Arizona State, also 2-1 with a loss to LSU, is the other school with a loss to rank in the top 15 of the Sagarin rankings.

Clemson vs. Boston College Series

·Clemson holds a 7-5-2 advantage in the series with Boston College, a series that dates to the 1939 season and the January 1, 1940 Cotton Bowl. That was a landmark victory for the Clemson program, the school's first bowl game and the school's first ever win over a top 20 team. Boston College was ranked 11th in the nation entering the game. Clemson won 6-3 behind 115 yards rushing from Charlie Timmons and four pass deflections in the fourth quarter by Clemson legend Banks McFadden.

·This will be the 15th meeting between Clemson and Boston College. Only Miami (FL) has played Boston College more among ACC teams entering this year.

·Two of Clemson's victories in the series took place during undefeated Tiger seasons. Clemson won 26-19 in 1948 on the way to a perfect 11-0 season, and won 35-14 in 1950 on the way to a 9-0-1 season.

·The last meeting between Clemson and Boston College took place in Boston in 1983, a 31-16 Eagles victory. 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 game behind Doug Flutie. 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).

·The two teams tied the last time Boston College and Clemson met at Death Valley. The game was televised by CBS on a regional basis, the first CBS broadcast from Clemson Memorial Stadium. Clemson had a 14-0 lead at intermission, but sophomore quarterback Doug Flutie led Boston College back to take a 17-14 lead. The Tigers tied the game in the fourth quarter, then had a 43-yard attempt with eight seconds left to win, but Donald Igwebuike's field goal drifted left and the game ended in a tie.

Clemson won the total offense battle 370-343. The Tigers had 218 yards rushing led by Cliff Austin, who had 20-94. Flutie was 18-35 for 242 yards and a touchdown. Clemson's Homer Jordan was 13-25 for 152 yards. Frank Magwood led Clemson receivers with 103 yards on six catches, the only 100-yard receiving game of his Clemson career.

*Clemson had just two losses and two ties over a three year period from 1981-83. One of the losses and one of the ties came against Boston College in that 1982-83 period.

·Clemson has not beaten Boston College since 1958, a 34-12 victory at Clemson.

·The two teams played three games at famed Fenway Park in Boston, the home of the Boston Red Sox. Clemson won the first meeting there in 1941 by a 26-13 score. The same two teams met at Fenway the following year, and Boston College won 14-7. The two teams played to a 14-14 tie in 1953 at Fenway. So the series stands at 1-1-1 in games played at Fenway Park.

*Clemson holds a 2-1-1 lead in games played at Death Valley.

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