Turning Point: Tajh Boyd-to-Nuk Hopkins pass delivers game-turning blow

Tigers wrestle momentum away from stubborn Eagles en route to crucial ACC victory

Clemson wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins runs past Boston College Eagles defensive back C.J. Jones to score a touchdown in the fourth quarter making the score 45-31 which would be the final score.

Photo by Nathan Gray

Clemson wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins runs past Boston College Eagles defensive back C.J. Jones to score a touchdown in the fourth quarter making the score 45-31 which would be the final score.

The Eagles had the Tigers in a pickle.

Third-and-six, Clemson on its own seven-yard line, leading 31-21, but with the outcome very much undecided, and the momentum hanging in the balance.

Tajh Boyd executed a quick play-fake, dropped back into the end zone, and looked deep.

What did he find?

DeAndre Hopkins, who else, running free and unencumbered behind Boston College's secondary.

Boyd delivered a perfectly in-stride pass, which Hopkins gathered in for a 58-yard gain.

Caught from behind, Hopkins didn't score - one of the few blips in a record-setting 11-catch, 197-yard performance.

But in those few moments, the game changed.

The Tigers eventually punted on fourth down, but pinned the Eagles back at their own 20.

Three plays later, with the third quarter winding down, Rashard Hall picked off a pass by Chase Rettig at the BC 33. Boyd hit Jaron Brown with a quick over-the-middle pass for a 32-yard gain, and then Andre Ellington cashed with a one-yard TD run.

Clemson led 38-21...and though there were plenty of ups-and-downs yet to come (highlights including an interception by Garry Peters and a big fourth-down PBU by Travis Blanks), the Tigers had what they needed as the foundation for a 45-31 victory.

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