(An outsiders musings about goings on at Boston College, aka The Heights)
Give Boston College football coach Steve Addazio and his staff credit. They tried to fix what was broke after a pair of one-sided losses to Wake Forest and Notre Dame. They really did.
They fiddled with a defense which had allowed Notre Dame to run for a staggering 308 yards on 6 plays in a 49-21 loss to the Irish, who produced 515 yards of rushing offense.
Small wonder, the Eagles came to Death Valley to face defending national champion Clemson on Saturday as 34-point underdogs.
But that perception changed slightly when the Eagles stood tall and matched Clemson for slightly more than 45 minutes.
And that was a primary reason why the No. 2 ranked Tigers heard some scattered boos from the crowd when they began the fourth quarter tied with the Eagles at 7-7. The Tiger defense was doing its job, but there were almost no Tiger paw tracks in the end zone produced by an offense which rolled over Louisville and Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Lamar Jackson, 47-21 last week.
Not to worry, Clemson fans.
The Tigers played their role in the final 15 minutes and so did BC, in what will be a very misleading 34-7 Clemson victory to casual fans checking the scores on their phones.
In the end, the numbers for BC were almost as depressing as a week ago. Only the timing was different.[membership level="0"] The rest of this article is available to subscribers only - to become a subscriber click here.[/membership] [membership]
. The defense, worn down by summer like temperatures, a quality opponent and some more injuries, allowed 480 yards of offense, including 342 yards on the ground.
For the second week in a row, two Clemson players, QB Kelly Bryant (22 carries,106 yards, 2 TDS, 17 of 26 passing 140 yards) and running back Travis Etienne (9 carries, 113 yards, 2 TDs) negated what was looking like a highly successful afternoon of containment defense.
That was just the start of the bad news for the Eagles, who may have lost another starter (offensive left tackle Aaron Montiero) with a serious knee injury. The Eagles came to Clemson without center Jon Baker and lnebacker Connor Strachan, both who are gone for the season with leg injuries.
There were other omens which did not bode well for the Eagles.
Not counting the power 4 teams on the Eagles' schedule--Clemson, Virginia Tech, Louisville and Florida State) two of the teams BC fans were counting as possible Ws this season, Virginia and North Carolina State, both produced somewhat startling upsets on the road.
Virginia rolled all over Boise State in Boise on Friday and NC State went into Tallahassee on Saturday and basically eliminated FSU from the national championship picture by posting a 27-21 victory.
Aside from a non-conference home game against Central Michigan and a game at Fenway Park in November against UConn, it is difficult to project any victories for the Eagles, who are now 1-3 and will stagger home with a growing injury list and ( if they don't fight if off), an impending sense of doom.
There was little evidence of that as the game moved through its early stages on Saturday.
Much bally-hooed defensive lineman Harold Landry was playing like a pre-season All American and potential first round NFL draft choice. For much of the first half, Landry appeared to be in Clemson backfield as often as Kelly Bryant, who was doing his best to alleviate the Tigers fans over the departure of QB DeShaun Watson..
Adding to Clemson's problems was BC punter Mike Knoll, who has been the brightest light in the Eagles' camp this season. Knoll was superb in pinning ND inside its own 20 a week ago. On Saturday, he repeated the effort, putting punts inside the Tiger 10 yard line 5 times.
While that was happening, however, the Clemson defense was doing an equally effective job of shutting down the BC offense. Clemson was good enough and experienced enough not to panic, even when the Eagles tied the game at 7-7 near the end of the 3rd quarter on a 1-yard dive into the end zone by freshman RB A.J. Dillon.
That TD was the warning bell for the Tigers who no doubt were aware that FSU had dropped to 0-2 with its loss to NC State. Clemson went into a full court press the final 15 minutes, outscoring the Eagles 27-0.Game, set and match, Clemson.
How the Eagles will react this week remains to be seen
. Certainly there were enough good things for Addazio to talk about, but after Central Michigan, which was swamped by MAC pre-season favorite Miami (Ohio), the Eagles will fall into an underdog role for the foreseeable future.[/membership]