The scene of Dabo Swinney’s first win as Clemson’s head coach was the scene of a very costly defeat for the Tigers Saturday afternoon. Boston College kept the Clemson offense out of the end zone for the second year in a row in scoring a 16-10 upset of the Tigers and severely damaging Clemson’s hopes for a second straight ACC Atlantic Division title.
Swinney won his first game as Clemson’s interim head coach at Alumni Stadium two seasons ago. And after NC State defeated Florida State Thursday night, the Tigers knew they pretty much controlled their own destiny when it came to the division race. But this defeat, the Tigers’ third in the ACC, all but eliminates them from contention.
Clemson’s only touchdown came on Boston College’s first possession as Rashard Hall took a pass interception back for a touchdown. The Tigers’ offense could manage just a single field goal. Chandler Cantanzaro missed two other field goal attempts and Kyle Parker threw two interceptions. And Jamie Harper mishandled a kickoff which BC recovered and converted into a touchdown.
BC’s defense, #1 in the ACC against the run, kept Andre Ellington and company bottled up all game. Ellington, who left the game in the fourth quarter with turf toe, managed just 42 yards on 14 carries. Clemson had just 262 total yards.
BC running back Montel Harris, the ACC’s leading rusher, rushed for 142 yards on 36 carries, his second best outing of the season.
Clemson had the only scoring threats of the second half. Midway thru the third quarter Cantanzaro missed from 36 yards. Early in the fourth quarter, Parker threw a pick at the BC 9.
Later in the quarter, on fourth and seven from the BC 38, Parker completed a pass to Dwayne Allen but for just six yards. Parker was intercepted at the BC 45 on the next possession.
And on their final possession, the Tigers could only get to their own 43 before Parker’s Hail Mary was batted down. BC’s six second half possessions also ended with punts.
Clemson falls to 4-4 and 2-3 and will play NC State at home next Saturday. That game time and TV outlet will be announced Sunday. Boston College improves to 3-5 and 1-4 and will play at Wake Forest next Saturday. Official attendance was 37,137.
1st Quarter Recap:
- Clemson gets an early touchdown on defense as Rashard Hall intercepts Chase Rettig and returns it 52 yards down the right sideline for a score. It’s Hall’s 8th career pick and first touchdown. With 11:59 left in the quarter, Clemson 7-BC 0.
- The Eagles come back with a drive that reaches the Clemson one. A 40 yard pass from Rettig to Ifeanyi Momah gave the Eagles a first down at the Tigers two, but the Clemson defense tightened up and forced a 22 yard field goal that Nate Freese converted. With 6:49 left in the quarter, Clemson leads 7-3.
- Tigers answer that three with three of their own. Chandler Cantanzaro connects from 31 yards into the wind. With 3:04 left in the quarter, Clemson leads 10-3.
- End of quarter…Clemson 10-BC 3.
2nd Quarter Recap:
- The field goal parade continues in this quarter. BC puts together another nice drive but a holding penalty sets the Eagles back after they had reached the two. Freeze comes in and connects from 36 yards. With 8:32 left in the half, Clemson leads 10-6.
- BC takes advantage of a huge break after Clemson’s Jamie Harper loses the handle on a squib kick kickoff. The Eagles recover at the Tigers’ 39 and on the next place Rettig hits Harris in the left flat and he scoots down the sideline for a touchdown. With 8:15 left in the half, BC leads 13-10.
Clemson moves down the field but settles for a 44 yard Cantanzaro field goal attempt. The snap is low and on the ground and Cantanzaro misses short and to the right.
BC adds to its lead by driving for another field goal. Freeze connects from 36 yards on the last play of the half to give the Eagles a 16-10 halftime lead.
- End of the half…Boston College 16-Clemson 10.
3rd Quarter Recap:
- A scoreless quarter highlighted by Dawson Zimmerman’s 76 yard punt and lowlighted by Cantanzaro’s missed 36 yard field goal.
- BC had 26 yards in the quarter….Clemson had 75.
- End of quarter…BC 16-Clemson 10.
4th Quarter Recap:
- There was no scoring in the fourth quarter. All six of BC’s possessions ended with punts.
- Kyle Parker threw two interceptions, including one early in the quarter at the BC 13. That was Clemson’s best scoring threat as the Tigers never got past the BC 32 the rest of the quarter.
- Clemson got the ball back for one last chance at victory at their own 14 with :43 seconds left and no timeouts. The Tigers moved to their own 43 and Parker threw an incompletion on a Hail Mary to end the game.