Previewing 2018 Football: Clemson

Excitement is in the air in Chestnut Hill. For the first time in nine years, College Gameday is descending over Chestnut Hill to cover a pivotal Atlantic Division meeting between No. 17 Boston College football (7-2, 4-1 Atlantic Coast) and No. 2 Clemson (9-0, 6-0). The Eagles are riding a three-game win streak and will play host to a Tigers team that has its eyes on a fourth-straight College Football Playoff appearance. BC will have its hands full on Saturday night, as Dabo Swinney and Co. boast some of the top talent in the nation on both sides of the ball.

The top-20 matchup has massive implications on the hunt for the ACC title. The winner of this game will control its destiny in the Atlantic Division and face a much weaker representative from the Coastal Division for the conference championship.

Who is BC playing?

Clemson

When is BC playing?

Saturday, Nov. 10, 8 p.m.

Where is BC playing?

Alumni Stadium, Chestnut Hill, Mass.

How to Watch:

This game will be nationally broadcasted on ABC and can be livestreamed on WatchESPN.

By the Numbers:

BC:

1) Travis Levy ran for 75 yards and two touchdowns last week against Virginia Tech. Levy entered the game after A.J. Dillon retweaked his ankle. The sophomore’s two touchdowns propelled the Eagles to victory. Levy, along with Ben Glines and David Bailey, have all filled the void in the backfield whenever Dillon has missed time. If Dillon can’t go on Saturday night, expect to see a combination of these three backs.

2) During the Eagles’ three-game winning streak, the defense has performed exceptionally well in the second half. Against Louisville, Miami, and VTech, BC has only allowed seven points. The Eagles will need another strong defensive showing if they want to knock off the Tigers.

3) Aside from BC’s Week Four loss at Purdue, quarterback Anthony Brown has done a great job protecting the ball this season. In fact, the redshirt sophomore has only thrown five interceptions this season.

Clemson:

1) Clemson has dominated most opponents on its way to a perfect 9-0 record. Besides two close victories over Texas A&M and Syracuse, the rest of the Tigers’ victories have been blowouts. They have outscored opponents, 430-120, on the year.

2) A big part of Clemson’s offensive success can be attributed to Trevor Lawrence. The true freshman quarterback unseated Kelly Bryant in Week Four and hasn’t looked back since. Lawrence has recorded 1,549 yards through the air and an 18-3 touchdown to interception ratio. The gunslinger is one of the most talented quarterbacks in the country.

3) The Tigers boast one of the top defenses in the country. They’re only conceding 269 yards per game, good for fifth in the nation, and they have held their opponents to 13.3 points per game. The success all starts with the defensive line—a four-headed monster consisting of Christian Wilkins, Clelin Ferrell, Dexter Lawrence, and Austin Bryant. Lined with four future NFL Draft picks, this is one of the most talented units in the game.

Last Meeting:

These teams last met on Sept. 23, 2017, when the Tigers ran away with a 34-7 victory in Death Valley. BC hung around for the majority of the game, and by the end of the third quarter, the contest was even at 7-7. The Eagles fell apart in the fourth quarter, though, and Clemson racked up four touchdowns, turning a potential upset into a decisive blowout.

Outlook:

BC’s offense has performed quite well in the past two weeks, despite facing a vaunted Miami defense and playing in a hostile environment like Lane Stadium. The Eagles have always possessed a strong running game—one that’s spearheaded by Dillon and complemented by Glines, Bailey, and Levy. If Clemson’s offense jumps out to a quick lead, it will be Anthony Brown’s responsibility to respond. Brown has shined on the big stage before. After all, he led the Eagles to a shootout victory over Wake Forest in the third game of the season. In that contest, he passed for five touchdowns.

Brown will likely need a similar performance to top the Tigers. BC will need to continue to force turnovers against the Tigers and try to find a way to stop Clemson’s electric offense. Recently, the Eagles have been able to completely shut down their opponents in the second half. While it’s improbable that they will fully stymy Clemson, BC will have to slow down the Tigers considerably if it wants any chance of upsetting a perennial ACC powerhouse on Saturday night.

Featured Image by Richard Shiro /  AP Photo