Boston College can detour Clemson’s path

It’s a case of two teams currently on different paths.

Clemson (4-3, 2-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) has rebounded from

a rough stretch and has things perfectly in place for a shot at

their second straight league title game appearance. Boston College

(2-5, 0-4) is trying to straighten things out with its first

conference win and snap a five-game losing skid.

When they face each other on Saturday, the Tigers will enter

coming off a pair of convincing league wins over Maryland and

Georgia Tech. For BC, it’s the worst losing streak in 12 years.

”After losing five games in a row, that’s what your focus comes

down to is winning that next game,” BC senior linebacker Mike

Morrissey said. ”You want to win that next game. You want to end

that streak. Of course, you want to win as many games as you can,

but your focus really narrows when you start to get

frustrated.”

The Eagles have been close, losing late at then-No. 16 Florida

State, 24-19, two weeks ago. Then, they fell behind big early at

home against Maryland last Saturday before suffering a 24-21 defeat

to the Terrapins.

”But they’re a talented football team,” Clemson coach Dabo

Swinney said. ”Probably the biggest thing about them is they have

not been very settled at quarterback. But they are now and they

seem to be getting better.”

The Tigers enter a very important stretch if they’re going to

make it to December’s ACC championship game in Charlotte. After BC,

Clemson faces two teams – N.C. State and Florida State – ahead of

them in the standings.

With the Seminoles losing to the Wolfpack on Thursday night,

Florida, N.C. State and Maryland all have one loss in the ACC’s

Atlantic Division. So, there’s a hill to climb for Clemson.

But, first, it’s BC.

”For us,” Swinney said, ”we’ve yet to finish a game on the

road.”

The Tigers have played only twice away from Death Valley, both

losses, at Auburn and North Carolina. But that skid needs to end

soon. After all, if they’re to make a return trip to the title

game, they’ll have to survive three more road league games.

The Eagles, on the other hand, are just looking for a win,

period. They will need to find success from their youth, namely

true freshman quarterback Chase Rettig, who is expected to make his

third consecutive start and fourth overall.

”I feel like, through the games, I’m feeling more

comfortable,” he said. ”I’m not expected to be a freshman

anymore. I’m expected to perform throughout the game. That’s going

to be a key this week – to start out well.”

The Eagles will be without two key defensive players. Safety Wes

Davis, taken from the field on a stretcher and to a local hospital

with a neck injury last week, is sidelined for further evaluation.

A bigger loss is defensive end Alex Albright, who broke his right

leg against the Terrapins.

”We tell our players this: ‘No matter what you did in this

position on offense or defense, it doesn’t matter. We need to get

the W’,” BC coach Frank Spaziani said.

Despite the injuries, BC will need to find a way to stop Tigers

running back Andre Ellington, who rushed for a career high 166

yards and two long touchdowns vs. Georgia Tech.

”Ellington’s just a phenomenal back,” Morrissey said.

”Clemson just has guys that come in. He’s a dynamic player.”

But Ellington’s speed isn’t the only thing that will have the

Eagles a bit more anxious.

”We want to get that first ACC win,” BC linebacker Luke

Kuechly said. ”We just have to keep concentrating at that task at

hand.”