No. 3 Tigers survive upset bid by Boston College

Tajh Boyd threw for a touchdown and ran for another as No. 3 Clemson rallied from a 7-3 halftime deficit to hold off upset-minded Boston College 24-14 Saturday afternoon at Memorial Stadium.

Clemson’s high-scoring offense struggled for much of the day, but Boyd came up big late and got an assist from his defense as the Tigers remained unbeaten, improving to 6-0 overall and 4-0 in league play heading into next week’s Atlantic Coast Conference showdown against unbeaten and No. 6 Florida State at Clemson.

But nothing came easy for Clemson on Saturday.

Boston College (3-3, 1-2) pulled ahead 7-0 on a 38-yard run by Myles Willis on the third play of the second quarter. Clemson kicker Chandler Catanzaro, who missed a 25-yard field attempt and was victimized by a bad snap and hold on another, finally connected on the final play of the first half — from 35 yards out — to cut the Eagles’ lead to 7-3.

Clemson gained its first lead of the game with 6:59 remaining in the third quarter when Boyd connected with Sammy Watkins for a 48-yard touchdown, but the Tigers’ advantage was short-lived.

Alex Amidon hauled in a Chase Rettig pass and dashed 69 yards on the next play from scrimmage, pushing the Eagles back in front 14-10 and stunning a crowd of 77,506 at Memorial Stadium.

But it was all Clemson from there.

Boyd capped an eight-play 48-yard drive with a 6-yard run for a 17-14 Clemson lead with 13:44 left in the third quarter and less than a minute later defensive end Vic Beasley scooped up a fumble by BC’s Rettig and dashed 13 yards for another touchdown.

Beasley, a junior defensive end who leads the nation with nine sacks this season, was voted the game’s most valuable player. He had five tackles, including two tackles for loss, one sack, one quarterback pressure, one pass broken up and the first fumble return for a touchdown of his career.

Boyd notched his 14th career 300-yard game, passing for 334 yards on 30-of-44 attempts.

Clemson running back Roderick McDowell upstaged BC’s Andre Williams, the nation’s leading rusher, by outgaining the Eagles’ senior. McDowell totaled 91 yards on 18 carries while Williams, who entered the game averaging 153.6 yards per game, was limited to 70 yards on 24 carries.

Rettig was under duress all day for BC and completed 13-of-21 passes for 192 yards. He was sacked five times by a Clemson defense that accumulated 11 tackles for loss on the day.

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