No. 16 Tigers hope to shake off tough loss against BC

Sixteenth-ranked Clemson will try to shake off its spotlight loss to the best team in the Atlantic Coast Conference and avoid the classic pitfall when it travels to Boston College on Saturday.

The Tigers – especially their defense – must erase memories of Florida State’s 49-37 comeback victory Saturday night, when Clemson (3-1 overall, 0-1 ACC) blew a 14-point third-quarter lead as the Seminoles amassed 667 total yards and 35 second-half points.

The Tigers’ core is still in place from last season’s 36-14 triumph over Boston College at Death Valley. Before leaving with a hip injury, quarterback Tajh Boyd threw for 283 yards and a score. The junior has continued to spark the offense, which averages 39.0 points, with an efficient 68 percent completion accuracy (83-of-122, 984 yards) and nine touchdowns against only two interceptions.

Andre Ellington ran for 117 yards and a score versus the Eagles, and has compiled 383 rushing yards and five touchdowns this season. Meanwhile, All-American wide receiver Sammy Watkins caught seven balls for 152 yards last year against Boston College, but last week against Florida State was used for some trickery as he tossed a 52-yard touchdown pass to Ellington. Kicker Chandler Catanzaro drilled a 50-yard field goal Saturday, setting a school record with his 15th straight make.

The Eagles (1-2, 0-1) have enjoyed more preparation time, coming off an open date for what is their only home game until Oct. 27. One of last season’s most anemic offenses, Boston College has shown signs of life behind quarterback Chase Rettig, who threw for nearly 300 yards in a 22-13 loss at Northwestern on Sept. 15.

Rettig, a junior, has thrown for half of last year’s touchdown total with his six scoring strikes through three games. He was 24-of-44 for 291 yards and a touchdown against the Wildcats, despite no help from a running game that produced 25 yards. Rettig’s 317 yards per game ranks 16th in the nation, but Boston College has averaged only 95.7 rushing yards and 3.0 per carry.

More discouraging is that the defense gave up 293 rushing yards and 560 total offensive yards in the Northwestern loss, which doesn’t bode well against Clemson’s potent ground game. The Eagles kept the Wildcats out of the end zone until a late touchdown, yielding five field goals prior. Junior wide receiver Alex Amidon has been a bright spot and was added to the Biletnikoff Award Watch List after posting career highs of 25 receptions and 366 yards already.

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