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FOOTBALL: Struggling To Keep Up

After A Strong First Half, BC Can't Stay Even With Explosive Clemson Offense

Assoc. Sports Editor

Published: Monday, October 1, 2012

Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 18:01

On Saturday, the Boston College football team (1-3, 0-2 ACC) hosted No. 17 Clemson University (4-1, 1-1), and, despite a strong offensive output, was unable to win the 45-31 shootout at Alumni Stadium. Chase Rettig, who threw for 341 yards and three touchdowns, matched up well with Tigers quarterback Tajh Boyd, who finished the day with 367 passing yards, three passing touchdowns and one rushing score. BC wide out Alex Amidon had the most impressive performance for the game with eight catches for 193 yards and two touchdowns.

Head coach Frank Spaziani noted that, while his team stayed with Clemson for the majority of the game, the Eagles needed to make a better impact defensively.

“We did some good things on both sides of the ball, a couple times, but not enough on defense,” Spaziani said.

While the Eagles definitely proved their offensive worth, Clemson was just that much better, with 576 total yards.

“It was a pretty high offensive game,” Amidon said. “They score and we were able to score. It’s pretty new for us to be able to move the ball like that. It’s fun being able to move the ball on offense like that.”

The Eagles opened up the day’s scoring with a 30-yard run down the right sideline by running back Andre Williams. The junior, who finished the day with 61 yards and a touchdown on 22 carries, broke through several arm tackles at the line of scrimmage, and accelerated through the secondary untouched.

While the BC defense was able to make some plays, the Clemson offense utilized a quick-paced hurry up offense to keep the Eagles’ defensive unit on the field and tired. In the first series, Boyd looked to exploit the secondary with some long balls to the end zone, however BC succeeded in forcing the Tigers to kick a field goal, making the score 7-3.

In the team’s next series, BC tried to keep the ball on the ground with three straight runs by Williams, but the team had limited success and it was forced to punt. BC punter Gerald Levano struggled to pin them deep, giving the Tigers solid field position. Clemson took advantage of this opportunity when Boyd kept the ball on an option play and ran it in for the six-yard score.

At the end of the first quarter, Clemson had already amassed 209 yards, while the Eagles were at 110 total yards, as the Tigers led by three.

Clemson continued riding its momentum into the start of the second quarter when Boyd hit receiver Sam Cooper for a 15-yard touchdown on the first play. This score capped a six-play, 41-yard drive for the Tigers, and gave Clemson a 17-7 advantage. Yet Rettig and the offense would respond quickly in the quarter after some help from the defense.

Following a failed fourth down attempt for the Eagles, Boyd attempted to hit the deep ball for another score, but he threw into a tight double coverage. Cornerback Sean Sylvia was playing under the receiver and made a diving catch for the pick.

The offense took advantage of this opportunity through the passing game. Rettig hit Spiffy Evans for a 26-yard gain on third down, followed by a 49-yard pass to a streaking Amidon down the left side of the field. Amidon made a great move after the catch to avoid his defender and gain the extra yardage. Rettig finished the series with a three-yard laser to Johnathan Coleman, who cut across the middle of the end zone through heavy traffic.

The defense came through again, forcing Clemson to punt, and the offense followed through once more with another touchdown. In this series, BC utilized some trickery to gain yards. Receiver Bobby Swigert, who was returning to the field for the first time this season, took a pitch on the first play of the series and hit Evans downfield for 28 yards. Not to be outdone, Rettig threw a 31-yard score to Amidon, who lost his defender on a slant route, giving BC the 21-17 lead.

Clemson drove down the field one more time in the half to continue this chain of scoring. The team relied on a combination of short passes and runs by Boyd and running back Andre Ellington. On third and goal, Boyd rolled out to his right and found Brandon Ford just in front of the goal line. After a quick review, the play was confirmed as a touchdown, giving Clemson the 24-21 halftime lead.

Heading into the second half, the Tigers continued their attack, as the Eagles seemed unable to regain any momentum. On a third-down play, running back Roderick McDowell rushed for 16 yards and the score to make it 31-21 Clemson, putting the pressure on BC’s offense. There was a lull by both teams following this last score, however, as they punted a combined four times before Rettig was intercepted by Rashard Hall in one series.

The Tigers pounced on this scoring chance, starting at BC’s 33-yard line. Boyd completed a 30-yard pass to Jaron Brown to put his team at the goal line, and Ellington jumped over the pile to score. Ellington finished the day with 132 yards and one touchdown on 25 carries.

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