Top-ranked Clemson welcomes new look Boston College team to Death Valley this weekend (Photo by USAToday Sports)
When Boston College first joined the ACC, the Eagles were always one of Clemson’s toughest challenges year in and year out.
Since 2011 though, the series has been pretty one-sided as the Tigers have won nine straight over the Eagles, with the last five coming in dominating fashion. BC hasn’t scored more than 7 points against the Tigers in its last three meetings and hasn’t score more than 10 it the past four.
However, this is not those same Boston College teams. Gone are the days of the run heavy Steve Addazio teams after he was fired last season. The Eagles brought in former Ohio State co-defensive coordinator Jeff Hafley and he has brought a new look offense with him.
Hafley wants to be more balanced but so far has struggled to find it as their running game has failed to get going. BC comes into Clemson averaging just 99.2 rushing yards per game and 3.0 yards per carry. That is god news for a Clemson defense that will once again be without the services of LB James Skalski and will also likely be without DT Tyler Davis again.
While Hafley has had issues getting his ground attack going, it seems as if he has indeed found a quarterback. Redshirt sophomore Phil Jurkovec is a huge reason why BC is sitting at 4-2 on the season right now.
Jurkovec has already thrown for close to 1700 yards and is hitting on 63% of his passes. He has 12 touchdown passes to just 4 interceptions and has a passer rating of 139.27. Those are good numbers and he has put those up against some solid defenses the likes of Pitt, North Carolina, and Virginia Tech.
This week will be the ultimate test for the young quarterback though, as Clemson is allowing just 169 passing yards per game. Especially if the Tigers get back starting corner Derion Kendrick. He, along with Andrew Booth Jr and Sheridan Jones give the Tigers a superb trio of cover guys on the outside when they are at full strength.
New look offense or not, this is an area in which the Tigers have a huge advatange, even without Skalski and Davis. There is a reason Clemson is a 32 point favorite in this one.
The only real issue for the top-ranked Tigers will be making sure they come in focused on the task at hand, as that was obviously an issue last weekend against Syracuse. Even quarterback Trevor Lawrence said the team didn’t bring the right kind of energy.
Having said that, when is the last time you saw this Clemson team come out flat in consecutive weeks? Probably not since the 2016 season. It is something that just doesn’t happen anymore. The culture inside the program and the leaders on this team just won’t allow for that to happen.