Well, if you were looking for a statement win, you got one.
It wasn’t picked to be close, and Clemson made sure the predictions were right - picking apart the Boston College Eagles all day long for an emphatic 59-7 win. It may not have moved the needle for the AP Poll (which still has the undefeated Tigers 4th in the country), but there were some things that looked much different for Clemson this weekend.
Here’s what I noticed…
Trevor Lawrence’s great decision-making
Now that’s more like it.
Heading into this game, I expressed some concern about Trevor Lawrence’s performances over the last few weeks. It wasn’t that he played badly, necessarily - it was simply that he had made a habit out of forcing balls into traffic and making questionable throws, all while trusting his receivers a little too much.
Not so on Saturday. Against Boston College’s less-than-stellar secondary, Lawrence was sensational, going an absurdly efficient 16 for 19 with 275 yards, three touchdowns, and no interceptions, for a career-high QB rating of 257.9. But more than just the stats (though the stats are ridiculous), he made the kinds of decisions you expect arguably the country’s best pocket passer to make - patiently going through reads, waiting for the right options, and, most importantly, not forcing it when there’s no big play available.
Elsewhere on offense, Diondre Overton had the best game of his four year Clemson career, posting 119 yards receiving with three touchdowns, while Travis Etienne posted his third-straight 100 yard game of the season. Overall, it was one of the most dominant performances of the season for Clemson - and showed they’re starting to lock in as we head to November.
The rush defense made another statement
The one thing Boston College had going for them coming into this game was the rushing attack which, behind AJ Dillon and David Bailey, was sixth in rushing yards per game.
Now, Clemson’s rush defense has been tremendous this season - but I would be remiss if I didn’t say mention that of all Clemson’s opponents this season, only Louisville ranked higher than 62nd in terms of rushing yards per game. Even after holding the Cardinals to 153 yards on the ground, Boston College would be a serious step up.
Well, consider that step taken, because Clemson absolutely dominated the afternoon. They held BC to just 97 yards on 44 carries (2.2 yards per carry), with AJ Dillon running for a season low 76 yards. Bailey, likewise, got just 16 yards on the day.
The tone just felt better
In my preview, I noted how important it was for Clemson to come out and play focused, mistake-free football - because even in a year when the ACC is down, they’ll be getting everyone’s best shot for the remainder of 2019.
On this day, Clemson rose to the occasion. They committed just three penalties - a season low - and it was their first game of 2019 without a turnover on the books. Even against this Boston College team - heck, especially against this Boston College team - that focus is impressive, and important for them to build on for the rest of the year.
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