GAME: Clemson (3-4, 1-3 ACC) at Boston College (5-2, 2-2)
LOCATION: Alumni Stadium (44,500)
TIME: 3:30 PM EST
SPREAD: Eagles by 5
SERIES: Boston College holds a 8-7-2 advantage in the series with Clemson, a series that dates to the 1939 season and the January 1, 1940 Cotton Bowl. The Eagles have won all three meetings between the two schools since joining the ACC in 2005.
BOSTON COLLEGE KEY PLAYER: QB Chris Crane. At times Crane has looked confident and has been explosive in the passing game. At other times he's been inconsistent and prone to throw interceptions in bunches. He needs to play well Saturday to give the Eagles the best opportunity to win.
CLEMSON KEY PLAYER: RB C.J. Spiller. Spiller has been injured since the second half of the Maryland game and Clemson's offense has suffered mightily as a result. With an off-week in the books the Tigers are hoping he's as close to 100 percent as he's been all season. And quite frankly, they need him to be.
INJURIES: DT Rashaad Jackson (quad) questionable, DT Jamie Cumbie (wrist) out, OG David Smith (ankle) questionable, RB C.J. Spiller (hamstring) out.
FORECAST: Partly sunny in the morning ... Highs in the lower 50s. Northwest winds 10 to 15 mph. [ LINK ]
QUOTE TO NOTE: "Honestly it's been feeling pretty good this week. It was great to have some cold weather already because that helps me prepare. It's going to be important for me to keep it loose on the sidelines Saturday and I should be able to do that without any problems. So you'll see me out there riding a stationary bike trying to keep warm but other than that I should be good to go." - C.J. Spiller on his health headed into the B.C. game.
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* Game Notes
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When Clemson has the ball - Boston College presents many of the same problems it has in previous years with a big, physical defense that is tough to move the ball against, and it starts in the middle with a pair of 325 pound tackles in Ron Brace and B.J. Raji. Dabo Swinney has hinted all week the Tigers will try and find creative ways to move the ball on the ground and he'll have to if Clemson is going to win this game because the Tigers' ground attack has been anemic in the last two and a half games - which were all losses. Both Cullen Harper and Willy Korn are expected to see snaps at quarterback as coach Swinney will go with the hot hand once he finds it. Also- C.J. Spiller returns after missing the Georgia Tech game with a hamstring injury and is hoping to be close to full strength. After turning the ball over six times against Georgia Tech two weeks ago, any possession that ends with a kick would be in this game- whether it's an extra point, field goal or a punt.
When Boston College has the ball - The biggest question for the Eagles is which Chris Crane will show up? The one that makes big plays with his arm and his legs or the one that throws interception in bunches? Clemson's defense figures once again to be good enough to win, but it must get better in pressure-packed situations late in games. Somebody has to make a play- whether it's CB Chris Chancellor, DE Ricky Sapp or LB Brandon Maye- the Tigers need a big play on defense to help the offense put more than two touchdowns on the board. Clemson's defense has been solid since the season-opening loss to Alabama but could still stand to show improvement on third down and in forcing turnovers.
Special Teams - Clemson kicker Mark Buchholz remains perfect on extra points and field goals and should give the Tigers an advantage in this game. Punters Jimmy Maners and Dawson Zimmerman have been solid, with the exception of their last game against Georgia Tech. In a game that could be determined by field position- their play Saturday will be critical.
Intangibles - Dabo Swinney continues to say all the right things to get his team to perform at a high level but clearly the Tigers are still trying to pick up the pieces of a hugely disappointing season. Simply put, the team is in desperate need of finding big plays Saturday to help rebuild its confidence. Whether it comes on offense, defense or special teams, somebody needs to make something happen if the Tigers are going to spring the upset. A win sets the stage for a big game next weekend at Florida State while a loss would all but end Clemson's bowl hopes this year.
PREDICTION: Boston College 21 Clemson 20
DON'T FORGET! The Tiger Pre-game Show will be broadcasting live Saturday morning from 9:30 AM to 12:30 PM from Alumni Stadium in Chesnut Hill, MA. Tune in to 104.9 WCCP FM in upstate South Carolina or on the world wide web at wccpfm.com as we celebrate our 70th consecutive game broadcasting on location covering your Clemson Tigers.
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