GAME: No. 18 Boston College (8-2, 5-2) at No. 15 Clemson (8-2, 5-2 ACC)
LOCATION: Clemson, S.C., Memorial Stadium (81,500)
TV: ESPN-2 (Mark Jones, Bob Davis, Stacey Dales)
TIME: 7:45 P.M. EST
SPREAD: Tigers by 8.5
SERIES: Clemson is 7-7-2 all-time against Boston College. The Eagles have won both matchups since joining the ACC. It's a series that dates to the 1939 season and the January 1,
1940 Cotton Bowl. That was a landmark victory
for the Clemson program, the school's first bowl
game and the school's first ever win over a top
COACHES: Clemson head coach Tommy Bowden is 68-40 (86-44 overall) in his ninth year at Clemson. Bowden is 0-2 against Boston College. Eagles head coach Jeff Jagodzinski is 8-2 in his first year as a head coach at the collegiate level.
BOSTON COLLEGE KEY PLAYER: S Jamie Silva. Silva leads the Boston College defense with five interceptions and has the size to provide ample run support when needed. With cover corner DeJuan Tribble out with an injury, Silva will be under spotlight to try and contain Clemson's passing attack by preventing big plays.
INJURIES: Clemson- RB Ray Ray McElrathbey (ACL) out, FB Chad Diehl (leg) out, Haydrian Lewis (ACL) out, WR Jacoby Ford (ankle) out, OL Bobby Hutchinson (ankle) doubtful, OL Chris McDuffie (elbow) questionable. Boston College - LB Jolonn Dunbar probable, LB Tyronne Pruitt probable, CB DeJuan Tribble (knee) out, LS Jack Geiser (knee) out.
FORECAST: Sunny during the day with a high of 64. 51 degrees around kickoff with clear skies. (weather.com)
CRAZY STAT OF THE WEEK: Despite a 42-35 loss at Maryland last weekend, the Eagles have compiled the ninth-best road record during the last five years at 21-9. Seven of those wins came against teams ranked in the top 25, including two this year (Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech).
QUOTE TO NOTE: "I'm scared to death, to be quite honest with you, that it will probably come back and blow up in my face, but we have got to stop the run first," Koenning said. "If they can run the ball, then you can't stop anything. So, we have got to work from that premise that we've got to stop the run first and then work on the other things that they do." - Clemson defensive coordinator Vic Koenning.
* Opposite Ends of the Spectrum
* 3 Keys to Victory
* Game Notes
* On the Record: Cullen Harper
* 2007 Clemson Beat Pick 'Em
* WEDNESDAY NOTEBOOK: Injury Updates
* NOTEBOOK: Hamlin Weighing Options
* Tuesdays with Vic
* What We are Hearing...
* Tommy Bowden's Press Conference
* NOTEBOOK: Championship at Stake
* Davis Looks at Big Picture
* Depth Chart
* BLOG: This is Fun
KEYS FOR THE CLEMSON OFFENSE - Since the second half of the Virginia Tech game, the Clemson offense has been close to unstoppable. After moving Thomas Austin to center and Barry Humphries to guard, not to mention utilizing more spread formation, the Tigers have averaged over 47 points per game. Boston College, which enters Saturday's game with the No. 2 ranked rushing defense in the nation, will provide a much stiffer challenge. Look for the Tigers to once again use the passing game to setup the run, especially with B.C.'s top cover corner, DeJuan Tribble out with an injury. Look for the Tigers to attack Tribble's replacement, freshman corner DeLeon Gause, who stands in at 5-11, 179 pounds and will be making his first start. The Tigers may stick the passing game to move the ball as the interior of the Eagles defensive line features plenty of size to clog up running lanes. Boston College safety Jamie Silva is one of the best in the league, providing ample run support and coverage ability. He'll be depended on even more Saturday with Tribble out of the line up.
KEYS FOR THE CLEMSON DEFENSE - The Tigers will face one of the top players in the nation Saturday night in QB Matt Ryan. While not the most mobile quarterback, Ryan has one of the strongest arms in the game to go along with pinpoint accuracy. He also has the experience of winning in Death Valley before two years ago. Clemson's front four did an outstanding job last week in pressuring Wake Forest quarterback Riley Skinner, but this week will be more difficult because of three-step drops and complex protection schemes. Somehow Clemson's defensive line, led by Ricky Sapp, Phillip Merling, Rashaad Jackson and Jamie Cumbie must figure out how to bother Ryan before he releases the football. That doesn't necessarily mean sacks, but they must get him out of rhythm to keep the Eagles off the scoreboard. Ryan has shown he'll turn the ball over if his team gets behind or he gets knocked around- check the seven interceptions in his last two games (both losses). Crezdon Butler and Chris Chancellor have both shown the ability to become lockdown cornerbacks, but they'll be tested more than any point in their young careers Saturday night against the pass-happy Eagles. Keep an eye on tight end Ryan Purvis, who had a career game last weekend at Maryland with 10 catches for 102 yards. RB Andre Callender, who was recruited by Clemson four years ago, has also enjoyed a career season and has taken over the starting position full time from L.V. Whitworth.
SPECIAL TEAMS - Within the span of the last month, C.J. Spiller has turned into one of the dangerous return men in college football. The Tigers will need him to provide excellent field position via the return game Saturday night to allow Cullen Harper the opportunity to take chances down field. Quietly Mark Buchholz has made his last seven field goals, including one from 52 yards out last week against Wake Forest. Boston College has average special teams at best. Kicker Steve Aponavicius has converted on 36-of-39 PATs and 8-of-12 field goal attempts with a long of 45 yards. The return game has been dreadful- the Eagles rank dead last in the conference in punt returns, averaging just 4.7 yards/return and ninth in kickoff returns at 19.7 yards/return.
INTANGIBLES - Simply put, this one means everything. A win puts the Tigers in the ACC Championship game for the first time. A win gives Clemson the opportunity to play in a BCS game for the first time in school history. Keep in mind Tommy Bowden has never won a championship of any kind at Clemson. That would change should the Tigers beat Boston College Saturday night as Clemson would win the Atlantic Division championship. Will the Tigers come out loose, as they have in the last four games? Or will they come out tight knowing so much is on the line?. On the other side of the ball, Boston College has suffered a massive loss in confidence after losing two straight, including last week at lowly Maryland. Do the Eagles have any fight left or have the wheels come off as this team heads towards another Tire Bowl berth?
PREDICTION: Clemson 34 Boston College 21
In what could be the loudest game in Death Valley in school history, the Tigers have the home-field advantage and will be as motivated as any Clemson team in recent memory. Ryan gets his yards, the Eagles won't be able to outscore a Clemson offense that has been on fire since the midway point of the season.
PRE-GAME SHOW INFO: The Tiger Pre-game Show with Roy Philpott and Scott Rhymer will be broadcasting live from the Lawn at Littlejohn 1:30 AM to 4:30 PM Saturday afternoon. Tune in to 104.9 WCCP FM in upstate South Carolina or on the world wide web on wccpfm.com as we celebrate our 60th consecutive game broadcasting on location covering your Clemson Tigers.
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