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CFN Preview - Boston College at Clemson

CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Oct 5, 2011


Week 6 CFN Fearless Prediction & Game Story - Boston College at Clemson


2011 Predictions & Game Story 

Week 6 - BC at Clemson

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Oct. 8 at Clemson 36 … Boston College 14
CFN Analysis: Clemson might have beaten Boston College without a problem, but now there’s a concern over QB Tajh Boyd after he took a shot and suffered a hip injury. Terrific, he completed 16-of-26 passes for 283 yards with a touchdown before getting knocked out, and while Cole Stoudt wasn’t bad, the freshman didn’t push the ball down the field and didn’t take any chances. Sammy Watkins continued to show he’s one of the most exciting new players in college football with seven grabs for 153 yards, while Andre Ellington kept the ground game moving with 22 carries for 117 yards. The Tigers are starting to win easily, and now they have to get fight complacency with Maryland up next. Boyd’s injury should be a cure for that.

Boston College didn’t have Montel Harris, who hurt his knee again last week. While he wouldn’t have been the difference against Clemson, the offense could’ve used someone to add some punch to the offense. Chase Rettig tried to throw, but he couldn’t loosen up the Tiger defense and Rolandan Finch, while fine, only broke free for a 20-yard touchdown run but couldn’t keep the chains moving. The defense didn’t pick up the slack in any way allowing 500 yards, but Clemson is ripping up everyone. With a road trip to Virginia Tech up next, forget about turning the season around mostly because the lines aren’t working. BC still has to find a pass rush of some sort.

(AP) CLEMSON, S.C. -- Tajh Boyd's play again gave No. 8 Clemson reason to celebrate. A hard hit to Boyd's hip left the Tigers wondering how many more of those celebrations they'll be having.

Boyd passed for a touchdown and ran for another as the Tigers continued their best start in 11 years with a 36-14 victory over Boston College on Saturday.

But Boyd had to leave the field in the third quarter with his injury, the severity of which remains unknown -- along with Boyd's status for next week at Maryland.

"It's a complete waste of time to speculate," Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said.

Although Swinney acknowledged things might not be as bad as they looked to the crowd of 78,000 who held their breath as Boyd lay on the ground. X-rays taken on Boyd showed no broken bones. An MRI at Oconee Medical Center confirmed that diagnosis.

Swinney said Boyd was walking around the locker room much better than when he initially left the field.

"We're praying for positive news there," Swinney said.

As is everyone who roots for the Tigers (6-0, 3-0 Atlantic Coast Conference). Boyd's been a revelation as a first-year starter, strong and poised with a knack for making the right decisions. He's thrown 15 touchdown passes, including a 3-yarder to Jaron Brown on Saturday, to just two interceptions.

"It doesn't look like it's going to be too serious," Clemson tailback Andre Ellington said.

Chandler Catanzaro added five field goals while Ellington rushed for 117 yards and a 36-yard TD in the fourth quarter that sealed things for the Tigers.

If Boyd can't go, Cole Stoudt -- son of former NFL quarterback Cliff Stoudt -- would get the start against the Terps.

Tigers offensive coordinator Chad Morris will keep the gas pedal pressed on his fast-paced offense with Stoudt in there. "Cole's fine. Cole's going to be a great quarterback here," Morris said. "We've got to make sure that we continue to push him."

Stoudt has a few off-target throws, but ended a respectable 6 of 10 for 37 yards. He led the Tigers to a field goal and Ellington's TD when Boston College (1-5, 0-3) cut the lead to 26-14.

"I know in practice, the team's going to help me get better," Stoudt said. "I'm going to build off them."

Swinney was hopeful that Boyd had nothing more severe than a deep muscle bruise and could start next week. Plenty of Clemson supporters hope that, too.

The Eagles played without ACC preseason player of the year Montel Harris, who aggravated a knee injury in last week's loss to Wake Forest.

Boyd, a sophomore, had thrown for 200 yards or more each game this year and was on his way to a third 300-yard performance when, with Clemson ahead 23-7, he was hit by Boston College defensive end Max Holloway. Boyd tried to get up but rolled back to the ground as coaches, teammates and trainers surrounded him. Death Valley, 78,000 strong for homecoming, was silent as Boyd remained on the ground.

He was finally carried off the field, his left leg held above the turf. He was taken to the locker room for X-rays and Clemson announced he had a hip injury.

"He was scrambling out and went and grabbed a hold of his leg and I guess he fell awkwardly," Holloway said. "He kind of yelled when he hit the ground, so I figured he was hurt."

Boston College tried to catch Clemson groggy after Boyd's departure, Chase Rettig's 24-yard pass to Bobby Swigert cutting the lead to 26-14. The Tigers, though, found their footing with Stoudt. Catanzaro added a 47-yard field goal and Ellington broke out for a 36-yard touchdown run on fourth-and-1 to seal the victory.

The Tigers finished with 500 yards, the fifth time in six games they've gained 440 yards. But can they keep it up if Boyd is out?

After Maryland, the Tigers return home to play North Carolina. An ACC showdown at Georgia Tech comes after that.

Boyd was 16 of 26 for 283 yards. He also had 37 yards rushing.

The Tigers to put this one away early, scoring on its first three possessions to go up 17-0.

Morris emphasized all week that his guys hadn't put up a TD against Boston College since 2008. They quickly brushed off that monkey on Boyd's 3-yard scoring pass to Jaron Brown to finish an eight-play, 80-yard drive that lasted less than three minutes.

Clemson was back at it a series later, Catanzaro hitting the first of three field goals in the opening half.

The defense got into the act moments later, Malliciah Goodman sacking Rettig and causing a fumble that Tyler Shatley recovered on the BC 16. Boyd ran it in for a 14-yard touchdown three plays later.

"They got rocket-shipped out of there at 17-0 really fast," Boston College coach Frank Spaziani said.

The Eagles have had their successes at Death Valley -- they've won two of the three times they've played here since joining the ACC in 2005 -- but appeared lost without injured star Harris and his backup, Andre Williams.

Harris had rushed for over 100 yards a week ago against Wake Forest but aggravated a knee injury that kept him out of all but two games this season. Williams didn't play because of an ankle injury.

Then again, Boston College didn't help itself much, either. Besides Rettig's fumble, the Eagles' had a 43-yard touchdown catch by Bobby Swigert wiped out by a personal foul. They gained less than half of Clemson's first-half yardage, 142 to 295, and could not slow the Tigers.

When Boston College finally scored on Rolandan Finch's 20-yard touchdown run with 1:55 to go, Clemson followed with a 65-yard drive that concluded with Catanzaro's 18-yard field goal for a 23-7 halftime lead.

Boston College (1-4) at Clemson (5-0) Oct. 8, 3:00, Raycom Sports

Here’s The Deal … Clemson has proven it can run with some of the better programs in the country, becoming the first ACC team ever to defeat a ranked opponent in three consecutive weekends. Now, it has to show that it can maintain its focus and high level of play against one of the league’s weaker teams. At No. 8 in the polls, the Tigers have ascended from unranked in the preseason to its highest ranking in more than a decade.

After riding the offense in the first month, Clemson used its defense to dismiss Virginia Tech in Blacksburg last Saturday, 23-3. It’s only the second week of October, yet Boston College is already inching perilously close to snapping its 12-year streak of bowl appearances. The Eagles fell to 0-4 versus FBS foes with last week’s 27-19 loss to Wake Forest. Oh, and the worst may be yet to come. The schedule was front-loaded with home games, leaving five tough road trips still left to be played.

Why Boston College Might Win: From a psychological standpoint, this will be a challenging game for a Clemson squad that’s growing accustomed to high-profile, high-stakes showdowns over the past three weeks. And now here come the Eagles, who’ll arrive in Death Valley playing with absolutely nothing to lose. Knowing it can’t outgun the Tigers, Boston College will attempt to slow the game down. It’ll methodically run the ball with Montel Harris at a Clemson defense that’s been sporadic versus the run. On defense, the Eagles remain respectable, in large part because of the play of linebackers Luke Kuechly and Kevin Pierre-Louis. Kuechly is one of the game’s difference-makers, leading the country with 83 tackles.

Why Clemson Might Win: While those Boston College linebackers may help keep things close for a while, eventually the Tigers are going to break through with a flurry of backbreaking plays. They’ve simply got too much speed for the Eagles. In his first year as a starter, QB Tajh Boyd is playing like an All-ACC lock. The sophomore’s rapid maturation in coordinator Chad Morris’ system has helped the skill position players, like RB Andre Ellington, TE Dwayne Allen and receivers Sammy Watkins and DeAndre Hopkins, bloom. Once Clemson begins to light up the scoreboard, the one-note BC offense won’t have the necessary passing game to mount a comeback.

What To Watch Out For: Is the Clemson D that sacked Logan Thomas four times and held Virginia Tech to a field goal for real? The answer will dictate whether the Tigers are contenders for more than just an ACC title. The unit was sound in all phases, limiting the Hokies to 258 total yards. The face of the effort was clearly DE Andre Branch, who played as if his NFL future hinged on it. The senior was unstoppable, repeatedly schooling the Tech blockers for 11 tackles, five stops for loss and three sacks. With a little more of that kind of dominance from the pass rush, Clemson will take a giant leap forward toward becoming a complete team.

What Will Happen: The threat of a Clemson letdown is real, but just not against this week’s opponent. The Tigers will get a break by playing at home versus a vastly inferior team. Boston College has already fallen at home to Duke and Wake Forest, an indication of its 2011 struggles. The diverse Clemson offense and improving D will be too much for a second-rate visitor. The Tigers will crank up an attack that took a week off in Blacksburg, peppering BC with close to 500 total yards and five trips into the end zone.

CFN Prediction: Clemson 38 … Boston College 16
- Click For Latest Line From ATS: Clemson -21  O/U: 55.5

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