ABOUT CLEMSON (3-0, 1-0): The Tigers have been balanced on offense behind junior quarterback Kelly Bryant, who has completed 68.7 percent of his passes for 733 yards with two touchdowns and one interception, and he ranks third on the team with 162 rushing yards and a team-high five TDs.
We saw what happened past year when Clemson let teams hang around too long. The bulk of the Tigers' 222 total first-half yards came in the opening quarter on a scoring drive that saw Clemson gash the Eagles for 94 yards on the ground, capped by an 11-yard touchdown run by Bryant. "I'm real proud of our guys for just keep fighting, man", the defensive coordinator said.
With the win, Clemson remained undefeated at 4-0 overall and 2-0 in the ACC, while Boston College dropped to 1-3 on the year and 0-2 in conference play. The next series, they were at it once more on a 90-yard series and the speedy freshman Etienne burst through the tired Eagles to finally give the Tigers some breathing room.
Etienne finished with nine carries for 113 yards and two touchdowns. "This is what defenses have given us". Cam Phillips was the top Hokies receiver on seven receptions for 106 yards. But Boston College quieted the large Death Valley crowd on AJ Dillon's 1-yard TD late in the third quarter to tie the game at 7-all. It was the second straight game Etienne, a Louisiana recruited wooed heavily by LSU, broke off a long touchdown run after his 81-yard score against Louisville last week.
Bryant also added his second TD when he followed Ray-Ray McCloud's 56-yard punt return to the BC 24 with a 4-yard scoring run.
Etienne said his mindset when he gets the ball is to find the end zone. We stayed patient. We tried not to get frustrated.
Clemson's running back corps is as deep and effective as at any time in Swinney's tenure. These four, including C.J. Fuller, Tavien Feaster and Adam Choice along with Etienne, have all had winning moments so far. Clemson rushed for 164 yards in the final quarter, while the Boston College offense managed only 37 yards in the fourth. Running back Jon Hilliman was good for 122 yards and 5.5 per carry a week ago in a loss to Notre Dame but only 33 and 3.7 against the Tigers.
Kenny Hill passed for 228 yards for the Horned Frogs (4-0, 1-0 Big 12), who put themselves in a great position to start league play.
As Clemson moves ahead to a road game under the lights next week at Virginia Tech, certainly the Tigers have plenty to address in practice this week heading into what will be a hostile environment in another national matchup. Still, I like Virginia Tech to hang around here and cover. "We're battle tested", Swinney said. "This is a dynamic football team, dynamic athletes".
"It says a lot about our team", Bryant said.