GRADES: Tigers win on the road

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. - CUTigers publisher Roy Philpott grades Clemson's road win at Boston College.

OFFENSE: A
Not much to complain about when your offense puts up these kinds of numbers missing its top playmaker. In short, it was business as usual for one of the most explosive units in the country. And it was also business as usual for Nuk Hopkins - to the tune of 11 catches for 197 yards and touchdown. Then there's Tajh Boyd - who continues to be willing to get up-field on the ground to extend drives. Chad Morris continues to dial up the right plays at the right time and his team is executing those plays consistently at a high level. The Tigers recorded 576 yards of total offense, including 209 on the ground and 367 through the air. Clemson was also 10-of-16 on third down conversions. What's not to like? Perhaps Clemson is calling too many trick plays, but that certainly gives future opponents more to think about. Simply put, this unit is on track to be the most explosive and prolific offense in Clemson football history. Tweet that.

DEFENSE: C-
It hasn't been pretty for the Clemson defense this year, but Saturday evening demonstrated reasonable improvement for this unit. The pass rush was visible as Chase Rettig absorbed a number of big hits and was forced into several mistakes downfield. Rashard Hall and Gerry Peters also came up with big interceptions. Clemson still gave up its share of big plays, particularly to scrappy wide out Alex Amidon, but the run defense was much better, giving up just 51 yards total (1.8 per rush). From the sidelines, there was a sense this unit also developed much-needed confidence in the victory. Much more of that will be needed next week against the triple option attack of Georgia Tech. Again, it was far from perfect, giving up 31 points a ton of passing yards, but it was better than what was seen last week.

SPECIAL TEAMS: C
Chandler Catanzaro continues his outstanding accuracy and has now converted on 16 consecutive field goals. Once again, short kickoffs plagued the Tigers, but Bradley Pinion was brought on in the second half and those issues quickly went away. Also - there was the fake field goal attempt which never came to fruition due to a delay of game, resulting in the "C" grade.

COACHING: B
After trailing 7-0 five minutes into the game, Clemson quickly kicked it into gear and never truly looked back. Boston College threatened in the second quarter but once Clemson gained a 24-21 lead, that was it. Considering the Tigers were 1-2 at Alumni Stadium since B.C. joined the ACC seven years ago, this was a solid win and a solid coaching job across the board. The team was motivated, executed the game plan at a reasonably high level, and did it at a venue where that typcial doesn't happen.

OVERALL: B
This was a must-win. Coming off a huge emotional loss at Florida State, the Tigers had to quickly pick up the pieces and prove they could win on the road. Saturday night, they did that and then some. It was a solid effort across the board, but now Clemson turns its attention to ACC rival Georgia Tech. The Yellow Jackets are reeling after back-to-back losses to Miami and Middle Tennessee, but there can be no let up. Tech has given Clemson fits since switching to the triple option four years ago and promises to be a tough out next weekend as well. But for now, a four-game road losing streak is over, and a 4-1 start by this team is nothing to feel bad about. Bring on the Jackets, and let the chips fall where they may.

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