Post and Courier
December 25, 2014

INSIDE THE GAME: Boston College at Clemson

Posted: 10/11/2013 02:00 p.m.
Updated: 10/11/2013 10:15 p.m.
By Aaron Brenner

Three and out for No. 3 Clemson (5-0, 3-0 ACC) to dismiss Boston College (3-2, 1-1) at 3:30 p.m. at Memorial Stadium (WCIV/ABC-TV) and turn attention to Florida State:

BE PATIENT

If this game were basketball on grass, Clemson would be the run-and-gun, fast-paced tempo looking for a track meet, while BC’s the slow-it-down type that prefers to settle into its offense and bleed the shot clock. In football terms, these two teams gain about the same amount of yards per play (Clemson 6.4, BC 6.0), but the Tigers have averaged a league-high 81.6 plays per game, 20 more than the Golden Eagles. So if the Tigers’ offense gets a little antsy on the sidelines, take solace that this is just how BC operates … though BC is outside the national top 100 in first downs.

CLOSE THE GAPS

As defensive coordinator Brent Venables saw it, getting gashed for 323 yards on the ground at Syracuse came down to fundamentals; not filling the proper gaps, which gave the Orange room to run. Clemson shouldn’t be forgetful of the previous week (Wake Forest rushed for just 60 yards), but generally speaking, a much-improved defense should not have serious lapses like that. Physical tailback Andre Williams, who averages more than 150 rushing yards per game and has five 30-plus gains in five games, will test the Clemson front seven.

FEAR US, FSU

Florida State made its opening statement leading into the Oct. 19 hype machine by absolutely pelting Maryland, 63-0, on Oct. 5. (That came off Maryland shutting out West Virginia, 37-0, before West Virginia defeated No. 11 Oklahoma State.) Now’s the time for Clemson’s rebuttal. If the Seminoles sit at home and watch the Tigers stumble their way to victory unimpressively, that’s only going to feed that swagger FSU players are known to carry. The intimidation factor could come into play if Clemson slams its third straight ACC opponent.

OUTLOOK

We don’t need to go back very far to dust off the cliches: Clemson played to a standard, against a nameless, faceless opponent, taking it one game at a time, against South Carolina State and Wake Forest. More than ever this season, this is the epitome of a trap game, because there is a major showdown right around the corner. New BC coach Steve Addazio overemphasized his need to recruit better in July, which indicates the Golden Eagles simply don’t have the team talent to pull off this upset. So for Clemson, it’s about coming out healthy, and coming out confident going into what ranks up there as one of the biggest games in ACC football history.

PREDICTION

Clemson 48, Boston College 14

Aaron Brenner