Trevor Lawrence, Clemson Move to 10-0 with Dominant Win vs. Boston College

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistNovember 11, 2018

Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence (16) celebrates his touchdown run with teammates during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Boston College, Saturday, Nov. 10, 2018, in Boston. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
Elise Amendola/Associated Press

The No. 2 Clemson Tigers remained undefeated Saturday with a 27-7 road win over the No. 17 Boston College Eagles at Alumni Stadium in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts.

Clemson is a perfect 10-0 on the season, and it clinched a spot in the ACC Championship Game with Saturday's victory.

Boston College fell to 7-3 overall, and it also boasts a 4-2 record in ACC play.

The Tigers held BC in check defensively, as they yielded a mere 113 total yards, and the only touchdown they surrendered was a 74-yard punt-return score by Michael Walker in the first quarter.

Clemson also limited star running back AJ Dillon to just 39 yards on 16 carries in the win.

The Tigers were aided by the fact that Boston College quarterback Anthony Brown left the game in the first quarter with an undisclosed injury and did not return after getting hit by Christian Wilkins.

After falling behind 7-3 on the Walker punt-return touchdown, Clemson took control of the game in all facets.

Freshman quarterback Trevor Lawrence put Clemson ahead with a two-yard touchdown pass to Milan Richard in the first quarter, and the Tigers never looked back.

Overall, Lawrence finished with 295 yards, one touchdown and one interception on 29-of-40 passing, while also rushing for his first career touchdown.

Clemson didn't lean as heavily as usual on star running back Travis Etienne, but he was still effective with 78 yards on 11 carries and three receptions for nine yards.

The Tigers even atoned for their earlier special teams blunder in the fourth quarter when Amari Rodgers returned a punt 58 yards for a touchdown to bury the Eagles.

Boston College was perhaps the biggest roadblock left standing between Clemson and an undefeated record entering the College Football Playoff.


Lawrence's Growth Makes Clemson a Legitimate Threat to Alabama

Defense was the biggest deciding factor in Saturday's win for Clemson, but Lawrence's steady play wasn't far behind.

Head coach Dabo Swinney put the ball in his hands on the road against a ranked team, and the results were impressive.

He looked comfortable from the very first drive when he connected with Rodgers for a 41-yard pass play, which continued the Tigers' trend of making big plays on offense this season, according to Clemson Football on Twitter:

Lawrence threw the ball with plenty of zip on a cold night in Massachusetts, and he spread the ball around with completions to nine different receivers.

Given how poised he looked, Matt Murschel of the Orlando Sentinel expressed his belief that big things are in store for Lawrence during his collegiate career:

Being a potential Heisman Trophy contender next year won't necessarily help Lawrence the remainder of this season, but it is tough to argue against the notion that Clemson is a far more complete team with Lawrence at the helm than it was with Kelly Bryant under center.

This may be Alabama's season to run the table and steamroll every team in its path; however, Clemson has the perfect combination to at least give the Crimson Tide a run for their money.

In addition to having an elite defense and a top-end running back in Etienne, the Tigers have a talented, young quarterback who seems to be gaining confidence with each passing game.

If he continues his upward trend over the next few weeks heading toward the CFP, Lawrence will be capable of bringing Alabama's dream season to a screeching halt, provided the pieces around him produce as expected.


Anthony Brown Injury Status Key to BC's Stretch Run

Much of the focus with regard to Boston College's offense is often on Dillon, but it was abundantly clear Saturday how important Brown is to the unit's success.

Brown attempted just three passes before exiting with an injury, and the Eagles' passing game was nothing without him.

EJ Perry stepped in as Brown's replacement and went just 12-of-21 for 98 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions.

Former Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd was prophetic in his assessment of BC's offense after Brown left the game:

Without the threat of Brown under center, Clemson was able to home in on Dillon and lock him down, which essentially rendered Boston College's offense helpless.

Entering Saturday's game, Brown was enjoying a spectacular season through the air with 1,567 yards, 16 touchdowns and just five interceptions.

It was made all the more impressive by the fact that Brown was coming off a major knee injury, as pointed out by Nicole Auerbach of The Athletic:

While the exact nature and severity of Brown's current injury are unclear, Boston College can't afford to be without him for long.

If Brown's injury is a long-term issue, it's entirely possible that the Eagles could lose out and squander what was once a promising season.

Even next week's game against Florida State could be daunting with a backup quarterback in the lineup on the road.

Then, BC faces Syracuse the following week, and keeping up with the Orange's high-powered offensive attack could be virtually impossible without Brown.

Clemson's defense aided in making the Boston College offense look inept Saturday, but things may not get much better in the coming weeks if Brown is unavailable.


What's Next?

Clemson will close out its ACC regular-season slate next week when it hosts the 7-3 Duke Blue Devils, who beat North Carolina on Saturday.

Meanwhile, Boston College will travel to face the 4-6 Florida State Seminoles on the road with FSU needing to win in order to keep its bowl hopes alive.


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