Clemson 56, Boston College 10
When: 7:30 PM ET, Friday, October 7, 2016
Where: Alumni Stadium, Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts
CHESTNUT HILL — Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said last week that the Tigers’ next goal was to win the Atlantic Coast Conference’s Atlantic Division, “and Boston College is in the way.”
Deshaun Watson threw for four touchdowns and Clemson showcased its quick-strike, big-play capabilities in a 56-10 victory over Boston College on Friday night at Alumni Stadium. The third-ranked Tigers bolted to a 21-3 lead in the first quarter and coasted to their 12th consecutive ACC victory dating to the 2014 season. Clemson (6-0, 3-0 ACC) improved to 6-0 for the fourth time in eight seasons under Swinney and extended its road winning streak to eight, matching the longest such streak in program history.
Boston College (3-3, 0-3), meanwhile, saw its ACC losing streak extended to 11 games.
“We came up here to take care of business and we did just that,” Swinney said. “We wanted to play our best game of the year and we played our best game of the year.
“We hit some big plays and got control of the game pretty early. Then we had a dominant second half. The execution was tremendous.”
Watson completed 14 of 24 passes for 266 yards, sparking an offense that riddled the nation’s top-ranked defense for 499 yards. Boston College entered the game allowing only 202 yards per game. Clemson had three scoring plays of 45 yards or more and six of its seven scoring drives required seven plays or less. Wayne Gallman rushed for 109 yards on only nine carries, including a 59-yard touchdown run on his first carry of the game. It is Clemson’s longest run from scrimmage this season.
Gallman, who set a Clemson season rushing record with 1,527 yards last year, was presented with the Leather Helmet Award that goes each year to the Most Valuable Player in the Clemson-Boston College game.
“Our ability to run the football was critical,” Swinney said. “Wayne is just kind of blue collar, not flashy. I’m really proud of him.”
Boston College was coming off a 35-3 win over Buffalo in which the Eagles held the Bulls to 67 total yards — the fewest ever by an Eagles opponent. But it was Clemson’s defense that shined Friday night, holding the Eagles to 251 total yards and collecting eight tackles for loss, including three sacks. Boston College quarterback Patrick Towles completed 11 of 22 passes for 91 yards and the Eagles’ touchdown — a 1-yard pass to fullback Bobby Wolford with 4:51 left in the third quarter that cut Clemson’s lead to 35-10.
The Tigers added three touchdowns in the fourth quarter, with each of those produced by players scoring their first career touchdowns.
Tyshon Dye scored on a 3-yard run, Tavien Feaster added a 45-yard run, and sophomore cornerback Mark Fields intercepted a pass and returned it 42 yards to cap the scoring with 1:30 left in the game.
“I can think of a couple of these third-down situations where we had Watson bottled up, and all of a sudden he’s out of there,” Boston College coach Steve Addazio said. “Give credit where credit is due — that’s a strong team offensively. They’re very, very talented.”
Boston College opened the scoring, getting a 21-yard field goal from Mike Knoll with 11:08 left in the first quarter after Clemson’s Ray-Ray McCloud fumbled a punt to set the Eagles up at the Tigers’ 9-yard line. But Clemson wasted little time in taking command. Gallman broke free for a 59-yard touchdown run four plays later — the longest run from scrimmage this season for the Tigers. On Clemson’s next possession, Watson hooked up with wide receiver Mike Williams for a 50-yard gain, then found Williams again two plays later for a 10-yard touchdown and a 14-3 lead with 3:12 left in the first quarter.
The Tigers padded their lead less than two minutes later, getting a 56-yard scoring pass from Watson to Jordan Leggett on the first play of their next possession for a 21-3 lead.
Boston College drove to the Clemson 1-yard line in 13 plays midway through the second quarter, but a bobbled snap on fourth down doomed the effort.
“The thing that was really hard was not scoring before the half right there,” Addazio said. “I thought Patrick Towles was in. I don’t know what happened there. But I thought we played pretty spirited in the first half.”
NOTES: Clemson DE Christian Wilkins, a Massachusetts native who had more than 90 family members and friends in attendance at Friday night’s game, had two tackles for loss and leads the team with 8.5 TFLs this season. … Clemson junior WR Artavis Scott enjoys playing Boston College. He has 24 receptions for 279 yards and a touchdown in three career games against the Eagles. … RB Wayne Gallman had 109 yards rushing against Boston College, giving him 15 career 100-yard games. The Tigers are 15-0 in those games. … Boston College DE Harold Landry had a sack against Clemson and ranks second in the ACC with 6.5 sacks this season. … LB Connor Strachan shares the Boston College team lead in tackles for loss with Landry with 8.5. … LB Ty Schwab led Boston College with 10 tackles against Clemson, including nine solo stops.