The Clemson Tigers and Boston College Eagles take the field on Saturday as both teams will try to notch their first ACC win.
Dabo Swinney's squad, of course, let a potentially huge victory slip away last week against Florida State to drop to 3-1. Meanwhile, Boston College lost its Week 1 ACC opener with Miami and hasn't played since losing to Northwestern two weeks ago. The Eagles sit at 1-2.
Let's take a look at everything you need to know about this matchup.
When: Saturday, September 29 at 3:30 p.m. ET
Where: Alumni Stadium, Chestnut Hill, Mass.
Live Streaming: WatchESPN
Betting Line: Clemson (-9.5), according to Covers
Clemson Injuries (via USA Today)
LB Justin Parker, Groin, Out
QB Tony McNeal, Knee, Out
CB Martin Jenkins, Groin, Out
Boston College Injuries (via USA Today)
TE Mike Naples, Back, Questionable
FB Jake Sinkovec, Foot, Questionable
TE Brian Miller, Knee, Questionable
WR Colin Larmond Jr., Leg, Questionable
G Harris Williams, Foot, Out
WR Bobby Swigert, Knee, Out
DB Al Louis-Jean Jr., Foot, Out
What's At Stake?
Clemson's collapse at the hands of Florida State last week was excusable, because, well, it's Florida State. And Florida State is really good.
But a loss against Boston College, albeit on the road, would be catastrophic, would surely drop them out of the Top 25 and would also probably remove them from any type of national conversation.
To sum up, it would be bad. Really bad.
On the other side of the field, BC simply has nothing to lose. Frank Spaziani's squad is a disappointing 1-2 and expected to lose this game at home. A win would surprise everyone while severely strengthening the Eagles' bowl hopes.
Clemson Player to Watch: Sammy Watkins, WR
Can I just say the entire offense?
Tajh Boyd is as dual-threaty—it's a word, don't worry—as quarterbacks come, as evidenced by his 984 passing yards and 119 rushing.
Andre Ellington is one of the most exciting, dynamic running backs in the league. Through three games, the senior has already racked up 383 yards on 5.7 yards per carry and has found the end zone six times.
But it's hard not to go with Watkins. The true sophomore can run the ball (six carries, 95 yards and a touchdown), he can can catch the ball (1,219 receiving yards as a freshman) and he can even throw the ball (433.4 QB rating. Sample size, schmaple size).
Considering he was held to a relatively quiet game against FSU last week, Watkins is even more of a "lock" (see what I did there?) to explode for a huge night.
Boston College Player to Watch: Chase Rettig, QB
In case the 70-spot that West Virginia put on Clemson in the Orange Bowl last year hasn't already convinced you—or the 49 that Florida State dropped last week, or the 27 that Ball State put up in Week 2, for that matter—just know that the Tigers struggle on defense.
Boy, can they score, but boy, can they get scored on.
The junior QB, with 951 yards, six touchdowns and one interception through just three games, is easily having his most productive, efficient season of his career. With the Eagles' running game hardly fooling anyone, this will be Rettig's chance for the game of his life.
Key Matchup: Boston College's Running Game vs. Clemson's Front Seven
While I do think Rettig will statistically have a big game, there's still no way BC keeps up with Clemson in a shootout.
The Tigers boast one of the nation's top offenses, and Boston College just gave up 560 total yards to Northwestern.
Clemson's defense is bad, but in this particular matchup, it could probably give up about 85 points and still win.
Enter the Eagles' running game. It will be important to control the clock, keep Boyd and company off the field and not get caught in a shootout.
Encouragingly enough, that is possible. BC's run game hasn't been great as a whole, but junior Rolandan Finch has been solid and should get the start against a defense that just gave up, wait for it, 287 rushing yards.
The more big runs Finch and Andre Williams are able to break, the better chance of an upset for Boston College.
Buuuut, don't count on it.
Clemson might suffer a letdown after last week's other letdown, but more realistically, Dabo Swinney will have his team fired up and ready to bounce back.
I just don't see Boston College slowing down Clemson's offense.
Clemson 49, Boston College 28
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