(Sports Network) - The Clemson Tigers travel to Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts this weekend for an ACC clash with the Boston College Eagles.
Clemson has won its last two outings to improve to 4-3 overall, including 2-2 in league action. Last weekend, the Tigers bested Georgia Tech by a 27-13 final in front of the home crowd. The goal this weekend will be to earn their first road win, as they are 0-2 outside of Clemson thus far.
Boston College opened the season with back-to-back wins over weak opponents, but the squad has suffered five consecutive losses since that point. The Eagles dropped to 0-4 in ACC action with a 24-21 loss to Maryland last week, their second straight narrow defeat. BC hasn't scored more than 21 points in any of its five defeats.
Clemson owns a narrow 9-8-2 series advantage over Boston College, thanks to back-to-back victories over the Eagles.
Andre Ellington was unstoppable for Clemson in the victory over Georgia Tech last weekend, as the tailback rushed for a career-high 166 yards and two long touchdowns on 20 carries. Ellington made his presence felt in the passing game as well, hauling in a touchdown reception. Quarterback Kyle Parker averaged fewer than 10 yards on his 17 pass completions, but he avoided throwing an interception, key to the win for Clemson. The offense finished with 403 total yards and 21 first downs, and the Tigers can certainly take pride in the fact that they made good on 9-of-15 third down conversion attempts.
Georgia Tech is one of the few remaining college football teams with an option-based offense, so it came as no surprise that the Yellow Jackets ran the ball on more than two-thirds of their downs against Clemson. The Tigers did surrender 242 rushing yards at a clip of 4.9 yards per attempt, but they didn't allow a single rushing touchdown in the tilt. Georgia Tech did manage one passing score, although Clemson allowed only 6-of-19 passes to be completed. The overall effort of the defense was quite strong.
Overall this season, Clemson is generating 30.3 ppg while gaining 353.6 total ypg. Ellington has been one of the more productive players in the ACC, rushing for 642 yards and 10 touchdowns to date. As for the passing game, Parker has tossed eight scores against only four interceptions, but he has completed a mere 52.8 percent of his passes and thrown for only 1,139 yards through seven outings. Clearly, the Tigers lack a standout receiver.
Opponents are scoring 18.4 ppg against Clemson, which is yielding 353.0 total ypg. Of the 16 touchdowns that the Tigers have permitted to opposing offenses, just four have come on the ground. They have forced 13 turnovers and registered 18 sacks, a solid number of impact plays. The player to watch for Clemson is Da'Quan Bowers, as he has already registered 17.5 TFLs, including 10 sacks.
The Eagles are generating 19.1 ppg and 294.1 total ypg, poor numbers for an offense that clearly lacks punch. Dave Shinskie, Chase Rettig and Mike Marscovetra have all seen significant time under center for Boston College this season, and none of the three quarterbacks have played particularly well. A concussion may prevent Shinskie from playing this weekend, but it doesn't seem to matter at this point which signal caller is on the field. Bobby Swigert is the club's leading receiver with 21 catches, 347 yards and three touchdowns, while Montel Harris paces the ground attack with 694 yards and three scores.
Against Maryland last weekend, Boston College managed only 285 total yards and turned the ball over three times. Rettig took all the snaps and was intercepted twice. Harris was the lone bright spot for the offense, as he rushed for 116 yards and two scores.
Through seven outings, opponents are generating 25.0 ppg and 314.1 total ypg against Boston College, which has yielded 17 touchdowns to opposing offenses. The Eagles have actually been tough against the run, permitting 83.6 ypg at a clip of 2.6 yards per carry. The pass defense has been victimized for 12 touchdowns, but 11 interceptions have been recorded and only 9.1 yards per completion is being surrendered. Despite the overall record of 2-5, BC can be proud of its defensive play. Luke Kuechly has already recorded 97 tackles, 54 more than his closest teammate.
Despite spending over 33 minutes on the field against Maryland, the Boston College defense allowed only 222 total yards. The run defense was tremendous, limiting the Terps to 43 yards on 33 attempts. Unfortunately for the Eagles, they did allow three passing scores despite permitting a lowly 6.9 yards per pass completion.
Although Boston College has the advantage of playing at home, Clemson is the better of these two teams and will win the game. Keep an eye on Bowers, as he is one of the nation's premier defenders.
FACTS & STATS: Site: Alumni Stadium (44,500) -- Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts. Television: ACC Network. Home Record: Clemson 4-1, BC 2-3. Away Record: Clemson 0-2, BC 0-2. Neutral Record: Clemson 0-0, BC 0-0. Conference Record: Clemson 2-2, BC 0-4. Series Record: Clemson leads, 9-8-2.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Clemson 27, Boston College 17