The Clemson Tigers defeated the Boston College Eagles by a score of 59-7 on Saturday night at Memorial Stadium. With the win, the Tigers moved to 8-0 on the season.
While the Tigers have averaged 40 points per game so far this season, Saturday night was their best performance of the season by far. All the talk surrounding the Clemson football team in recent weeks has been the questionable decision-making of quarterback Trevor Lawrence. With his 16-19, 275 yard, three touchdown performance, Lawrence proved that he’s ready to leave those mistakes in the past. Lawrence was on fire all night long with pinpoint accuracy and NFL-level throws outside the numbers. Most importantly, Lawrence appeared to be more in control of the game than ever before. Instead of throwing jump balls for his receivers, Lawrence connected on short and mid range passes all night long, picking apart the Eagle defense one play at a time.
Clemson running back Travis Etienne added to his extensive highlight reel against the Eagles. After notching the first touchdown for the Tigers early in the first quarter, Etienne was only getting started. In the first half alone, Etienne found his way into the endzone three times. He finished the night with 142 total yards and three touchdowns. While Tiger fans have grown accustomed to Etienne’s electric running game, perhaps the most exciting aspect of Etienne’s game on Saturday night was his impact in the passing game. After focusing on his pass catching ability all offseason, the hard work paid off against Boston College as he racked up 33 yards on three catches in the first half.
One of the most promising plays of the night was Amari Rodgers’ 19 yard touchdown reception in the second quarter. After driving into the red zone, Lawrence connected with Rodgers on a short pass that appeared to be good for a couple yards. After a quick cut and a few jukes, Rodgers left several Eagle defenders on the ground en route to a touchdown. Since his return from an offseason ACL tear, Rodgers has looked quicker and more agile than ever before, an exciting prospect for the Tigers moving forward.
Facing a tough matchup with Boston College’s No. 6 rushing offense, the Tiger defense was stout once again. Though Boston College running back AJ Dillon managed to break through on occasion, the Clemson defense was strong all night long. Clemson was in the backfield regularly, especially on passing plays. With backup quarterback Dennis Grosel starting for the Eagles, Brent Venables clearly gameplanned to make him uncomfortable in the pocket. The pressure hit home in a big way on Boston College’s first drive of the second half. After Dillon and the Eagles moved the ball into Clemson territory, Chad Smith stripped the ball from Grosel’s hands as he attempted to make a pass downfield. Clemson defensive end Logan Rudolph scooped up the bouncing ball and raced into the endzone to give the Tigers a 45-7 lead.
Saturday night was a breakout night for Clemson receiver Diondre Overton. With the defense fixated on Tee Higgins and Justyn Ross, Overton found himself in single coverage often and made the defense pay. The biggest play of the night for the offense came early in the second half when Lawrence connected with Overton on a simple out-route. With the whole defense on the opposite side of the field, Overton made his first man miss and proceeded to take off down the sideline en route to a 63-yard score. Later in the fourth, Overton caught a screen pass from Chase Brice and managed to break off a 34-yard score. Overton finished the night with touchdowns on all three of his receptions, compiling 119 yards.
Per usual, the last 20 minutes of the game consisted of back and forth action between Clemson’s second string and the opponent’s starters. As fans filed out of the stadium with Clemson up more than 40 points, Boston College was counting down the minutes until the game’s end.
With the Boston College game in the books, the Tigers will look ahead to next weekend’s matchup against the Wofford Terriers. The Terriers will come into the matchup at 5-2 in FCS play as heavy underdogs in Death Valley.