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The Bottom Line, BC ’18

Clemson 27 Boston College 7

First off, to all the people that made the trip to Boston, well done. There were a lot of Clemson fans in the crowd and ya’ll represented the team and university well. I especially like how you stayed out in the cold weather until the end of the game and took over the stadium when the lugubrious BC fans filed out.

We know who BC is because they are the same every year. They are tough, prideful, and physical. Dabo was right to stress physicality all week at practice and if you watched the battle in the trenches, you saw how much of a dogfight we were in. What BC doesn’t have is a bunch of 4 and 5 star skill players to make plays all over the field. The difference in the game was the athleticism of guys like Higgins, Renfrow, Ross, Rodgers, Etienne, Terrell, Mullen, and Muse. They don’t have a single player in that class athletically.

The game is won in the trenches, so if you can’t at least force a stalemate there, we will win a skill players vs. skill players battle. We were able to force the stalemate on offense and dominate up front on defense. When their QB went out of the game on the first drive, we loaded up and took A.J. Dillon away, and that was all we needed to do.

I have a new theory of why BC is so tough. They have a bass player and a guitar player in their marching band and they apparently only know 3 songs. Hearing that over and over and over the whole game has to trigger some sort of subconscious aggression in the players. If I never hear “Hit Me With Your Best Shot” again it will be too soon. That got old Saturday night, but imagine having to hear that every home game. I want an NCAA investigation.

Offense

The big revelation from the beginning of the game was how well their DC schemed us up. Kudos to him. We run a lot of one read/option concepts in both the run and passing game and they were ready. They would give us one look knowing what our answer to that would be and then it would be all hands on deck to that answer.

Because they have the horses to give us trouble, BC was able to treat Trevor Lawrence like the freshman that he is and do a lot of disguising. If you read the preview I wrote, you know I expected this and I am pleased that Lawrence got this kind of challenge with live bullets. BC showed him things he needs to work on and now he has film to study and figure it out before we potentially play an elite level defense again down the road (you know who).

  • In case I get this question in the comments, yes, I think Kelly Bryant would’ve handled a lot of what they threw at TL with no problem. However, when TL figures it all out, he has far greater potential to make defenses pay than KB did because he plays with a bigger field.
  • At the end of the game, TL stayed in and tried a few things that were dangerous and one of them led to an INT. I think he’s young and the wheels are turning really fast in there and he wants to see what he can get away with and where to draw the line.
  • Lawrence still needs to lock in that deep ball, and when he does that, our offense should go up another notch.

Up front, BC did the best of any team we have faced so far this year. They gave us multiple fronts including the 5-2 look and they blitzed everybody in their back 7 at one point or another. Their go-to blitzes were the NB/BCB Fires and the MLB and FS Double A blitz. Our OL and RBs did a good job with the Double A blitz.

Tremayne Anchrum had maybe his best game as a Tiger last week, and this week, maybe his worst week. Anchrum was awful in pass pro as the whole nation saw #2 Zach Allen eat his lunch. Allen is very powerful with great technique. Anchrum was trying to overcompensate for the power by squaring up and leaning forward. This allows the DE into your body and makes you susceptible to all his moves. They were lining the 282-pounder up in a wide 9 technique and that is a trick. This ain’t Vic Beasley and there’s no need to over-extend by kick sliding out there to get head up. He’s going to run himself out of the play if you keep your fit position, give him the outside, and ride him out. That’s exactly what Hyatt did to him and he could do nothing. I should also mention that in Anchrum’s defense, he did do good work on #2 in the run game. 

When Hyatt went out and with the game still in the balance, the staff put Jackson Carman in the game instead of bumping Anchrum over to LT as they’ve done previously. I don’t know if that was because #2 was wearing Anchrum out and they wanted to try somebody else, or if Carman has improved to the point where they think he has passed Anchrum and they are comfortable with him now. Probably a little bit of both. Carman played well, but he did get beat with speed a couple times by #11 Ray.

I’m a little disappointed that we didn’t match force with force in the run game more often. I’m sure they liked the zone based run plays this week because on paper, that works better against the slower, more powerful defensive front of BC. However, our power plays were able to get some big plays in the run game even if we gave up a couple TFLs.

I’m most happy with two things in this game. First, on the series right after BC scored on the PR, we took it down the field and retook the lead with a TD drive. And second, the first drive of the 2nd half where the staff made their adjustments to the scheme and went 65 yards on 3 plays for the score.

  • #2, Zach Allen might be the guy that prevents us from getting all four DL on the All ACC team this year. I feel like he and Brian Burns from FSU have the best chance to be a spoiler.
  • Mitch Hyatt had a couple of stingers according to Dabo. He should definitely play against Duke then.

Defense

You never want to see an opposing player get hurt, but you definitely want to physically impact the decision making of the QB. When Christian Wilkins did that on the first series of the game, it knocked the QB out of the game and rendered their offense punchless. Therefore, for the 5th straight week, we turned in another ridiculously dominant performance defensively and shut out the BC offense. I don’t think they got into certain FG range the entire game, let alone scored a TD.

Their strategy to get A.J. Dillon loose was to double team our DL and leave our LBs unblocked. I’m not sure if they’ve been doing that all year or not, but the obvious goal was to have the 250 pound RB punish and drag our LBs. Our LB trio of KJ, Tre, and JD were up to the task, but it didn’t really matter. After the QB went down, we moved the whole team into the box and dared them to throw. This allowed us to send both the playside DE and LB to the RB on Zone Read and give the WS/Sam the QB keeper assignment. We were also able to pressure the QB and shut down their version of Renfrow, the TE, Tommy Sweeney. He finished with 2 catches for 7 yards.

I thought we’d see some more trickeration considering how ineffective their offense was. They tried the RB wheel early in the game, but we were well-schooled on that. The one trick play was a reverse pass that they tried to fool Muse with, but he was all over it. Muse has improved his ability to read and react at WS and that is huge. He is able to better decide whether he should be in the box like a LB or be deep like a FS.

Special Teams

It’s past time to give Carson King a chance to punt. I know it was cold Saturday night, but 33 and 34 yard punts aren’t going to get it done. Clemson is currently ranked 93rd nationally in punting. Dabo’s philosophy is a preventative one. He seems to not care about distance as long as the chance for a return is low.

B.T. Potter was not able to reach the endzone on his kickoffs moving left to right on TV, but I think that is something you can chalk up to cold weather and wind. Hopefully his leg is not hitting a freshman wall.

Stat of the Game

Rushing Yards: Clemson 129, Boston College 9


Player Grades

This is the tally of all the points you saw at the end of each drive in the Film Review.


Offensive Game Ball

Hunter Renfrow

One more time for Mr. Natty.  8 rec/80 yards.

Defensive Game Ball

Tanner Muse

He’s fixed the problems that got him benched last year and is becoming the WS we need to make the defense click.



  • 2018 Offensive Game Balls: Amari Rodgers (FU), Kelly Bryant (A&M), Travis Etienne (GS, GT), Gage Cervenka (SU), Mitch Hyatt (WF), Trevor Lawrence (NCS, FSU), Tremayne Anchrum (UL), Hunter Renfrow (BC)
  • 2018 Defensive Game Balls: Christian Wilkins (FU, UL), Clelin Ferrell (A&M, GS, WF), J.D. Davis (GT), Tre Lamar (SU), Isaiah Simmons (NCS), Kendall Joseph (FSU), Tanner Muse (BC)

2015-2018 Game Ball Tally

  • 10-Timer’s Club: Deshaun Watson 13
  • 5-Timer’s Club: Dorian O’Daniel 6, Christian Wilkins 6, Clelin Ferrell 6, Ben Boulware 5, Kelly Bryant 5, Kendall Joseph 5

  • Travis Etienne 4, Hunter Renfrow 4, Wayne Gallman 3, Shaq Lawson 2, B.J. Goodson 2, Ray Ray McCloud 2, Jay Guillermo 2, Scott Pagano 2, Cordrea Tankersley 2, Mike Williams 2, Austin Bryant 2, J.D. Davis 2, Tre Lamar 2, Mitch Hyatt 2, Trevor Lawrence 2, Artavis Scott 1, Charone Peake 1, Mackenzie Alexander 1, Kevin Dodd 1, Dexter Lawrence 1, Ryan Carter 1, Jordan Leggett 1, Nick Schuessler 1, Carlos Watkins 1, Taylor Hearn 1, Tyrone Crowder 1, Justin Falcinelli 1, Trayvon Mullen 1, Tee Higgins 1, Deon Cain 1, Amari Rodgers 1, Gage Cervenka 1, Isaiah Simmons 1, Tremayne Anchrum 1, Tanner Muse 1

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