CLEMSON, S.C. -
Last week’s results:
No. 3 Clemson (5-0, 3-0 ACC) beat Syracuse 49-14.
Boston College (3-2, 1-1 ACC) beat Army 48-27.
Will Clemson look past Boston College?
You know it. I know it. Everyone knows it. One of the biggest games of the 2013 college football season is just over a week away. No. 6 Florida State is off this week, and with a win over Boston College Eagles, the No. 3 Clemson Tigers will set up one of the biggest showdowns in recent ACC history—a potential top-five matchup in prime time in Memorial Stadium. First, however, Clemson must beat Boston College. The Tigers are 24.5-point favorites, but the Eagles have already surpassed their 2012 win total (3-2). A year ago, that BC team gave Clemson a serious challenge, leading 21-17 late in the first half before falling 45-31.
"You turn this tape on, they get your attention," Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said. "This is a good football team we’re getting ready to play. This is a team that’s going to challenge us."
Swinney believes his team will hear that message this week.
"If we’re not fully focused on this team we get beat,” he said. “That simple. Our guys have done a good job, we have great leadership. We only have 10 scholarship seniors. Nine of them are fifth-year seniors.. Our guys understand this is the biggest game of the year. You don’t play well, lose this game, Florida State ain’t the story on Monday. It’s how bad you played against Boston College."
Can Clemson stop Boston College’s run game?
Clemson’s defense has improved in Brent Venables’ second season as defensive coordinator. The Tigers are 35th nationally in total defense, yielding 356.6 yards per game, and 16th nationally in scoring defense, allowing 16.6 points per game.
A year ago, the Tigers were 63rd nationally in total defense, allowing 396.6 yards per game, and 48th nationally in total defense, allowing 24.9 points per game. However, run defense has been a sore spot: Clemson allows 171.2 rushing yards per game, 79th nationally. That could be a problem since Boston College boasts senior tailback Andre Williams. Williams is the FBS’s leading rusher, averaging 153.6 yards per game.
"He is the heart and soul of what they do. He’s a very good player," Swinney said of Williams. "As good a guy as we’re going to play."
With a potent passing game showcasing senior receiver Alex Amidon (who had eight receptions for 193 yards and two touchdowns against Clemson last season), slowing Williams will be crucial.
Can Tajh Boyd keep his momentum?
Clemson’s senior quarterback and Heisman Trophy candidate has looked like a different player over the last two weeks. Boyd threw for 683 yards and six touchdowns against no interceptions in the first three weeks, but he kicked his production up a notch against Wake Forest and Syracuse.
He threw for 766 yards with eight touchdowns and two interceptions in those two games, including a Clemson single-game record 455 yards against Syracuse. His top quarterback rating in the first three weeks was 168.6. Against Wake Forest it was 220.9 and against Syracuse it was 261.9.
Time: 3:30 p.m. ET Saturday
Place: Memorial Stadium, Clemson, S.C.
TV: ABC/ESPN2 split-national broadcast
Radio: Clemson and Boston College radio networks (regional)
Spread: Clemson -24.5 via VegasInsider.com
*Unless otherwise noted, all quotes were obtained by the author.
Connect with Greg on Twitter at @gc_wallace.