Clemson right back at it against Boston College

BY foxsports • October 3, 2016

Clemson has had little time to celebrate its 42-36 victory over Louisville last Saturday night, a result that gave the Tigers a major leg up in their bid for a second straight ACC Coastal Division title and berth in the conference championship game.

The third-ranked Tigers (5-0, 2-0) were back at work the next day to begin preparing for a rare weeknight game against Boston College. The Tigers and Eagles (3-2, 0-2) clash at 7 p.m. ET Friday at Alumni Stadium in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts.

"It's a quick turnaround," Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said. "But we have good momentum. We have that windshield mentality and will continue to have that daily focus and trying to play to a standard that we talk about.

"This is the biggest game of the year for us, and we know we're going to have to play well. We were very lucky to win up there two years ago."

This is actually the second time during the young season that the Tigers have had to contend with a quick turnaround. They had only five days between games after beating South Carolina State in their third game before going to Atlanta for a Thursday night encounter with Georgia Tech.

They won that game 26-7 but added only a field goal in the second half after going to locker room at halftime up 23-0. They had only 95 yards of total offense in the last two quarters after amassing 347 in the first half. Compare that with the 568 yards of total offense they had in their pivotal win over Louisville.

Boston College lost to that same Georgia Tech team 17-14 in its season opener and later lost 49-0 to Virginia Tech to see its conference losing streak extended to 10 games. The Eagles haven't beaten an ACC opponent since the 2014 season finale when they beat Syracuse 28-7.

But Swinney isn't taking anything for granted.

"They are 3-2 and they're coming off a big win," he said, referring to BC's 35-3 rout of Buffalo. "And they'll be excited to play on national TV up there Friday night."

With their victory over the Bulls, the Eagles matched their win total for the entire 2015 season. Quarterback Patrick Towles, a graduate transfer from Kentucky, passed for a season-high 234 yards and two touchdowns on a 14-of-25 day.

Wide receiver Jeff Smith, a former quarterback, had five catches for 65 yards, and running backs Jon Hilliman and Davon Jones split the rushing load with 107 yards between them.

BC coach Steve Addazio was happy with the overall performance but concedes his Eagles will have to step up their game against the Tigers.

"We have got to squeeze out the very obvious mental errors that are disrupting us right now," he said, "because we won't get away with it against a team like Clemson, which is an understatement."

The Tigers are coming off their best performance of the year in rallying to beat Louisville. After jumping out 28-10, they saw the Cardinals storm back with 26 consecutive points for a 36-28 lead.

But the Tigers rallied for two touchdowns in the fourth quarter and cornerback Marcus Edmond's fourth-down stop of Louisville's James Quick a yard short of a first down at Clemson's 3-yard line on the Cardinals' final drive secured the win.

Quarterback Deshaun Watson threw five touchdown passes in completing 20 of 31 passes for 306 yards and also rushed for 91 yards, second to running back Wayne Gallman's 110 yards.

It was a good sign for Watson, the Heisman Trophy candidate who went into the night with just 120 rushing yards total the first four games and was averaging 249 yards a game passing.

"Every win is a confidence builder," Watson said. "You find a way to get the 'W' and move on. Each game, no matter who we're playing, we celebrate and move on. We understand that we have to put the work in during the week because anybody can be beaten."

Linebacker Ben Boulware had a big effort on defense for Clemson with 18 tackles that included a sack of Louisville's Lamar Jackson.

"That is kind of Luke Kuechly-ish," Swinney said, referring, appropriately enough, to the former BC all-American and current Carolina Panther. "I always wanted a guy like Luke Kuechly on my team."

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