Boston College fell to No. 2 Clemson, 34-7, in Death Valley. While the score may suggest otherwise, there are many positives to take away from BC’s performance.
With 3:05 remaining in the 3rd, freshman AJ Dillon tied the game at 7-7 off a one-yard touchdown run and the extra point attempt by Lichtenberg. Four plays earlier, junior Jon Hilliman converted on fourth down with an 11 yard catch at Clemson’s 18 yard line. Afterwards, Brown completed a five yard pass to junior Jeff Smith to put the Eagles on Clemson’s 13 yard line where Dillon picked up 12 yards to reach first and goal. But the series would be the only time Eagles fans would see hope within Death Valley.
The Eagles’ defense and special teams were able to maintain a very low scoring game up until the 4th quarter by providing solid positioning for our offensive squad while forcing the Tigers’ offense into unfavorable positioning.
After a scoreless first quarter, the Tigers got on the board first with an 11-yard rushing touchdown by quarterback Kelly Bryant. The Eagles had a shaky second quarter, highlighted by head coach Steve Addazio picking up an unsportsmanlike conduct call, putting the Eagles on third and 25 with 1:26 remaining in the quarter. In addition, the Tigers picked up a first down on a missed fumble opportunity by the Eagles. However, the Eagles ended the quarter on a positive note with a sack on Bryant, steadying themselves before heading into the third.
BC Redshirt freshman quarterback Anthony Brown struggled in the first half, completing just six passes on 17 attempts. Things took a turn for the better as Brown shined in the 3rd quarter, however, completing six passes on seven attempts.
Eagles fans saw a glimmer of hope after BC tied the game at 7-7 by the end of the third.
Going into the fourth, however, the Eagles could not keep up their defense as the Tigers scored on four of their five possessions. The Clemson duo of Bryant and freshman running back Travis Etienne ignited to bolster the Tigers performance as the clock ran out.
Etienne recorded two touchdowns for Clemson, one of which was on a 50-yard rush with 5:41 remaining in the quarter. Earlier in the fourth, Bryant threw a 23-yard pass to Diondre Overton that lead to a six-yard rushing touchdown by Adam Choice. Bryant then contributed another touchdown with 2:50 remaining in the quarter, ultimately lofting the Tigers to 34-7.
Coach Steve Addazio made an interesting decision following Bryant’s last touchdown. Addazio substituted Brown with graduate student Darius Wade, who threw an interception on his 2nd play--a play that may have solidified Addazio’s decision to stick with Brown behind center thus far.
In a game they were predicted to lose by around 33 points, the Eagles came out to perform (for the most part, at least). But Clemson’s Bryant and Etienne played some of the best football in their careers: both of them finished with two touchdowns and a combined 219 rushing yards with Bryant adding 140 passing yards in the process.
Improving endurance through the end of the game could be a turning point for the Eagles’ success as they head home next Saturday to face Central Michigan.