Clemson scored four fourth-quarter touchdowns to break a 7-7 tie and defeat Boston College 34-7 on Saturday afternoon at Memorial Stadium.
While the Tigers' defense was only "off" on one drive against the Eagles, it was the offense that appeared to be off through the first three quarters - before exploding for 27 unanswered points in the fourth quarter that ultimately led to a comfortable victory. In that Boston College game, Clemson QB Kelly Bryant posted a 17-of-46 line for 140 yards and two picks, while Travis Etienne put up nine carries for 113 yards and two touchdowns.
Chapel Hill, N.C. - Shaun Wilson ran 1 yard for the go-ahead touchdown midway through the fourth quarter, Bryon Fields returned an interception 61 yards for the game-sealing score and Duke beat North Carolina. His 50-yard scoring run late Saturday gave Clemson some breathing room and a 21-7 lead with about five minutes left.
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Bryant added a 4-yard scoring run in the fourth quarter while running back Adam Choice had a 6-yard touchdown run. Bryant is nothing special in the pocket - he has a 2/3 TD/INT rate and has surpassed 240 passing yards just once so far - but he's so risky as a runner that passing lanes open up for him. The next series, they were at it once more on a 90-yard series and the speedy freshman Etienne burst through the tired Eagles to finally give the Tigers some breathing room. They've lost seven of their last 15 games by 20 or more going back to last season.
Clemson (4-0, 2-0) won its seventh straight over the Eagles and opened 4-0 for a third consecutive season. "But when we needed it, we got it".
Travis Homer ran for two touchdowns and Braxton Berrios, Dayall Harris and Christopher Herndon each caught TD throws for the Hurricanes (2-0). It was the second straight game Etienne, a Louisiana recruited wooed heavily by LSU, broke off a long touchdown run after his 81-yard score against Louisville last week.
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Neither team could find a rhythm in the first quarter, as the Tigers and the Eagles combined for 138 yards of offense, five punts, one interception and a missed FG. "You're going to have games like that", Bryant said. The Eagles averaged only 2.9 yards a carry for 97 yards. That's why Clemson has to put away Boston College early on Saturday because anything else could be unsafe.
If the three are unable to play that would leave Ryan Carter and true freshman A.J. Terrell as Clemson's starting cornerbacks.
BC went into Death Valley without center Jon Baker (knee), outside linebacker and leading tackler Connor Strachan (knee) and wide receiver Charlie Callinan (knee). Huegel will have season-ending surgery and backup Alex Spence will take over the Tigers' kicking chores.
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Clemson should handle Boston College.