OCT. 30, 2010 - CLEMSON AT BOSTON COLLEGE
Alumni Stadium(44,000) - Chestnut Hill, Mass.
HEAD COACH: Frank Spaziani (9-5 at Boston College, 9-5 overall)
STARTERS RETURNING: 16 (8 - offense, 7 - defense, 1 - specialist)
KEY PLAYERS: TB #2 Montel Harris (5-10, 200), QB #15 Dave Shinskie (6-4, 216), LT #74 Anthony Castonzo (6-7, 295), DE #98 Alex Albright (6-5, 248), LB #94 Mark Herzlich (6-4, 238), CB #9 DeLeon Gause (5-11, 179)
LAST MEETING: 2009 - Clemson 25 Boston College 7
ACC KICKOFF QUOTE TO NOTE: "We'll be challenged defensively. We lost some linemen. They are a crucial part of our scheme. At linebacker, we have a lot of question marks. This is probably the most questions I've had in my 14 years on defense." - B.C. head coach Frank Spaziani.
NOTES: Offensively, the quarterback position now rests firmly in the hands of sophomore Dave Shinskie. On paper, he's a sophomore, but in real life he's a 26-year old sports veteran who spent a couple of seasons playing minor league baseball in the Minnesota Twins and Toronto Blue Jays organizations.
The Eagles also possess one of the top returning running backs in the ACC in Montel Harris (1,457 yards, 14 TDs in 2009).
One of the biggest questions entering 2010, not only for Boston College, but the rest of the ACC, is the status of 2008 ACC Defensive Player of the Year LB Mark Herzlich, who sat out 2009 because of a bout with Ewing's sarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer.
A rod was inserted into his leg in December and he was cleared for some work this spring. Spaziani said this week in Greensboro Herzlich is entering "unchartered territory."
KEYS FOR CLEMSON: Up until the last two years, B.C. has had Clemson's number, stealing victory from the jaws of defeat with three last-second wins, including two in overtime from 2005-07.
The last two years, however, has been a completely different story. The Tigers finally got over the Boston College "hump" during Dabo Swinney's interim half-season as Clemson's head man before last year's 25-7 defensive beat down in rain-soaked Death Valley.
This year's matchup will certainly be dominated by physical play and defensive play once again, similar to what Clemson will encounter against North Carolina earlier in the season. Special teams will also be critical in the same way they were in 2008 and '09. Last season C.J. Spiller ripped off a 77-yard punt return for a touchdown in Clemson's 18-point win, after a 64-yard kick return the year before setup the game-winning score.
Unfortunately, C.J. Spiller is long gone; meaning somebody else will have to step up in the return game as his replacement. Working against the bigger, slower Eagles, either DeAndre McDaniel or Marcus Gilchrist will likely make that happen.
PROJECTED POINT SPREAD: Clemson by 4.5
ALSO SEE: CFN'S BOSTON COLLEGE PREVIEW