Boston College (3-3) travels to South Carolina on Saturday to take on the fifth ranked Clemson Tigers (5-0) in an Atlantic Coastal Conference matchup. This will be the 25th matchup between the two teams. The Eagles are currently on the losing side of this matchup winning nine games in this battle for the O’Rourke-McFadden trophy and only twice when the Tigers are ranked.
Clemson has been stuffing the stat sheets on both sides of the ball this season. Their defense is currently ranked 13th in total defense allowing just 288.8 yards of total offense a game. Juniors Shaq Lawson and Jayron Kearse have been leading this defense. Defensive lineman Shaq lawson has 9.5 tackles for loss this season which ties for 12th in the country and Safety Jayron Kearse has 17 tackles. Clemson has also intercepted the ball seven times this season and will be all over the Eagles offense if either one of their young quarterbacks makes mistakes.
Eagles third-year head coach Steve Adazzio has yet to pick a starting quarterback to replace Darius Wade after he went down with a broken ankle against Florida State about a month ago. Freshmen Troy Flutie and Jeff Smith have been battling it out for the position, but neither has taken the reigns of the offense. Without Wade, the Eagles are 1-2 and in the last two games the offense has scored just 10 points. The Eagles young quarterbacks are not completely at fault as the team has had five injuries to key players on offense with the biggest blows being Wade and preseason Maxwell Award watchlist runningback Jon Hilliman.
Hilliman hadn't lived up to the preseason hype before he suffered an injury against Northern Illinois two weeks ago. Because of the loss to Hilliman Tyler Rouse has had to fill the starting role, but hasn't found the endzone since Hilliman has been out. The junior runningback scored five touchdowns in the first two games but has yet to punch the football in since. It is safe to say the Eagles offense has struggled to do anything this year, especially with the losses of Hilliman and Wade. In the last two games the offense has scored only 10 points and they will have to make improvements to give themselves a chance Saturday night.
As for Clemson’s offense, the Tigers rank in the top 50 in total offense this year, gaining over 430 yards per gamen. Quarterback Deshaun Watson has been solid leading the offense, as the sophomore ranks 21st in the nation in passer rating with a 153.8 mark. Watson has thrown for 11 touchdowns this season and he hopes to add to his tally Saturday night. Clemson’s feature runningback Wayne Gallman has rushed for over 100 yards in each of his last three games. However,the sophomore from Loganville, Georgia has not seen a defense like Boston Colleges’ yet this season.
The Eagles D has really been their rock all season. as the unit ranks in the top five in seven different categories. Sophomore Howard Landry has been their standout player so far as the defensive end is tied with Clemson’s Shaq Lawson at 12th in the country with 9.5 tackles for loss this season. Landry was also added to the Chuck Bednarik Award watchlist earlier this week. The award goes to the best defensive player in the country.
Boston Collegeunderstand what type of environment they are about to step into Saturday night. Third-year head coach Steve Adazzio said at his weekly press conference that “We're getting back at it. We have a tough one at Clemson, as you all know. It's a tough place to play at night. They're an outstanding football team. On offense, [Deshaun] Watson is playing great. He's the key to their offense and one of the huge keys to them being 5-0. He's a fantastic dual-threat quarterback that is throwing the ball well.”
The Eagles know they need to play their best football if they want to come out with a win Saturday night at Memorial Stadium.