BOSTON — By Tuesday, Clemson coach Dabo Swinney could tell his team needed a break. That victory against Louisville was dramatic and draining, and a long trip on short rest was looming.
Swinney eased up a bit on the third-ranked Tigers and they responded with a sharp performance when they easily could have come out flat, beating Boston College 56-10 on Friday night.
“It was a taxing week, but our guys didn’t complain,” Swinney said. “They just went through the grind. I love that mentality of that team.”
Deshaun Watson threw for 266 yards and four touchdowns, and the Heisman Trophy hopeful even helped clear the way for Wayne Gallman’s 59-yard scoring run with a solid block.
Clemson (6-0, 3-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) extended its conference winning streak to 12 games and its road winning streak to eight, which matches a school record set from 1978-79.
“I’ve been doing this a long time. There’s a reason that record’s only eight. It’s really hard to do,” Swinney said, doing his postgame news conference with the big bronze O’Rourke-McFadden Trophy that goes to the winner of this rivalry sitting on the table next to him.
Clemson linebacker Ben Boulware said he planned to spend his rare Saturday off back home in Anderson, South Carolina, chowing down on some food from J.C.’s sandwich shop, riding his father’s new dune buggy and watching college football.
“I’m super pumped,” he said.
The Tigers definitely earned their break.
Boston College (3-3, 0-3) lost its 11th consecutive ACC game.
Clemson broke three plays of at least 50 yards in the first quarter, two for touchdowns and another that set up a score. Watson picked off a defender on the edge to help spring Gallman for the game’s first touchdown. Watson’s 59-yard touchdown pass to Jordan Leggett made it 21-0 late in the first half. That was all the Tigers needed.
“Those three plays were costly right there,” Boston College coach Steve Addazio said. “The last thing I wanted to see us do is give up some big plays.”
Clemson: Hard to expect an A-plus effort from the Tigers considering the circumstances, but there was nothing to complain about. Swinney said the team “hit a wall” in the middle of the week so he cut back on practice and had the coaches and players catch up on rest. There was no looking past BC and a trip to the place where Swinney earned his first win as Clemson coach back in 2008.
“We don’t look forward to the next game or (back at) game past,” Watson said.
There were plenty of Clemson fans in the sellout crowd of 44,500, but not much intensity in Alumni Stadium. Still, the Tigers took care of business and came out of the game relatively healthy.
Boston College: The Eagles just can’t match-up against this level of opposition. The Eagles have lost their last two ACC games by a combined score 105-10 to Virginia Tech and Clemson.
BC’s best first-half drive covered 80 yards and got inside the Clemson 1. Twice on fourth-and-goal, quarterback Patrick Towles fumbled the snap because center Jim Cashman, who was playing in place of the injured Jon Baker (ankle), was knocked into the backfield by Tigers tackle Scott Pagano. The first one was wiped out by an offside penalty by Clemson, so Pagano did it again.
Baker is Boston College’s best lineman.
“One of my fears was losing that guy and that happened,” Addazio said.
Beating one of the worst teams in the conference isn’t going to push Clemson up the polls, but the Tigers did nothing to lose support In the AP Top 25 , which comes out Monday instead of Sunday because of the postponed Georgia-South Carolina game.
Clemson star defensive tackle Christian Wilkins, from Springfield, Massachusetts, had four tackles, two for loss, including a sack, in his first college game in his home state.
Clemson: The Tigers return home to face North Carolina State on Oct. 15.
Boston College: If the Eagles are going to break the ACC losing streak, the next game could be their best opportunity. Boston College hosts Syracuse on Oct. 22 in a matchup of one team that can’t play offense (BC) and another that can’t play defense (Syracuse).
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