Boston College at #1 Clemson
Memorial Stadium, Clemson SC
What a difference 24 hours makes. This time on Thursday, Clemson fans were getting ready for another tune-up before the team heads up to South Bend next weekend. However, things aren’t quite so rosy a day later.
The Tigers will be without starting quarterback Trevor Lawrence and anyone thinking that a freshman quarterback will come in and take over without there being a hiccup or two are very likely kidding themselves. Even if that freshman is former five star DJ Uiagalelei. The question becomes how many hiccups will there be and I am betting on not many.
There is no denying DJ’s talent but it is fair to question how ready he is. Does he have a firm grasp of this offense? Fans have been begging to see him unleashed and now he will be, so we are fixing to find out.
Without Lawrence the spread has dropped from 32.5 to 24. I didn’t think Clemson would cover with Lawrence but things have changed now. This team is about to show the fan base and the rest of the nation exactly what they are made of.
This BC defense is surrendering close to 400 yards per game and after coming out less than sharp last week against Syracuse I expect the complete opposite this week from the Clemson offense. Even more so now that Lawrence is out.
Players like Uiagalelei just wait for their opportunity to prove themselves and he gets that shot on Saturday. Add in that the rest of his teammates will be wanting to go out and win one for their starting quarterback and that spells trouble for BC.
While the Eagles are a surprising 4-2, they have done that against less than stellar competition. Their best win came against Pitt and it has been proven that the Panthers, like most other ACC teams, aren’t as good as was originally expected. Their other wins? Duke, Texas State, and Georgia Tech.
Phil Jurkovec, a redshirt sophomore, has played well in his first year as starting quarterback. He’s had too though, seeing as BC has really struggled to run the ball. Jurkovec has thrown for well over 1600 yards in six games, with 12 touchdowns and 4 interceptions.
The Eagles do have a legitimate threat at tight end in Hunter Long who is capable of posing some mathcup issues for the Tigers over the middle of the field. He is the teams leading receiver coming in. They love to use him and he has already caught three touchdown passes. Mike Jones Jr and those Clemson safeties will have to stay on their toes and not get caught peaking in the backfield on play-action.
It’s unlikely that Tyler Davis is back for this one so expect to see a few more three man fronts than usual, especially if Jordan Williams is still banged up. If that’s the case, the Eagles might have a little more running room than they otherwise would have but it also allows the Tigers to get more of those talented DB’s on the field who are getting better every week.
On the offensive side, expect a heavy dose of Travis Etienne. BC allows upwards of 170 yards per game on the ground and if the Tigers are ever going to come out and establish an elite-level ground game, now is the time.
This offensive line has yet to overly impress when it comes to run blocking and with Lawrence out it is time for this group to step up and truly show what they are capable of. I know we haven’t seen it yet from this group but I am going out on a limb and predicitng that is exactly what we see on Saturday.
No Trevor, no problem….. Not this week anyways.
Clemson 42 Boston College 17
Freddie Huth: This game got a little more interesting after the news broke that Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence has tested positive for Covid and will be out. DJ Uiagalelei looks to get the start but remember that he has been suffering from stiffness in his shoulder and third string quarterback Taisun Phommachanh is still recovering from a broken hand. The Tiger offense will probably look to lean on Travis Etienne and the running game more in this game and even though Boston College is giving up a good many yards on the ground this Clemson team is not grinding out the yards like they have in the past. The Eagles are off to a better start than many probably expected with new head coach Jeff Hafley. He was the the co-defensive coordinator at Ohio St last year when they not only lost to the Tigers, but gave up a 16 point lead in the process. That, with the fact that Clemson took the Eagles to the woodshed last year in a 59-7 beating you can expect Boston College to be ready to give the Tigers their best shot. Even with the injured players and the Eagles new head coach having them ready I don’t see them having the fire power to stay with Clemson and Hafley finds out how much of a difference there is in being at Ohio State and Boston College as they lose by three touchdowns
Clemson 41 Boston College 20
As always, we like to ask for some of your predictions over in out Facebook group. If you haven’t joined we’d love to have you, just click here. These are all predictions that came in after the news about Lawrence broke late Thursday.
Nathan Shipman (Contributor) 35-17
Zachariah Henderson 35-7
Nick Fazi 42-21
Debby Laidlaw 38-10
Ted Jackson 24-17
Chris Watts 41-10
Stephen Jennings 37-20
Roger Rowell 35-14
RJ Cavanagh 38-17
Kyle Shore 42-14
Joey Rogers 42-17
Phillip Wyler Evans 27-23