Breaking down this week's matchup with a few predictions...
The Eagles, at 3-2, are off to their best start since 2009 (4-1) behind the effort of vets under a fifth different offensive coordinator in four years.
A big bruising back with some speed, Boston College senior Andre Williams (6-0 227) leads the nation with 768 rushing yards – 153.6 per game – with seven scores at 5.8 yards per carry.
A career-high 263 of those yards came against Army last week in a 48-27 win, which was exactly a yard short off the school record (264, Montel Harris), but he did match the single-game rushing TD mark (5, Harris).
What's behind Clemson 'D' improvement
He and fourth-year starting quarterback Chase Rettig have the benefit of an all-upperclassmen o-line (93 combined starts), which features two tackles and a guard at least 6-5 and 300-plus pounds.
Rettig ranks third in the ACC in completion percentage (64.5), throwing for 891 yards, nine touchdowns and three picks. His top target is senior Alex Amidon, who is third in the ACC in receptions per game (6.4) and seventh in yards per (86.2). No other BC receivers are in the triple-digits in receiving or double-digits in catches.
Per usual, the Eagles have a couple linebackers among the ACC’s tackles per game leaders, in seniors SLB Kevin Pierre-Louis (10) and MLB Steele Divitto (8.6). Senior end Kasim Edebali’s seven tackles for loss has him seventh in the ACC.
For all of the individual success, the Eagles rank 94th both in offensive efficiency and total offense - 87th in third down percentage.
Defensively, B.C. is giving up 6.26 yards per play (103rd) and they’re not exactly coming in on an upswing.
In the last three games, they have surrendered 247 rushing yards per contest, 11.5 yards per pass and over four touchdowns per game (36.7 points total).
On the surface, a top-45 pass defense looks like a bright spot, but they rank No. 117 in pass efficiency ‘D’ (160.76).
Well, any ACC opponent’s trip into Death Valley hasn’t been promising of late, but especially if they’re not ranked.
The Tigers have won 12-straight conference home games – and 16 consecutive against unranked in the ACC with an 18-point margin of victory.
Boston College has lost 11 consecutive games versus ranked opponents – only two by less than double-digits. The last four came by 22 points per.
Clemson has given up its fair share of big runs, but this one should follow the model of the last four, with very little in doubt in the second half.
Three Predictions & a Pick
1. BC’s Andre Williams is held to his second-lowest rushing total (under 114 yards).
2. Clemson puts up a third-straight game with a 60-yard passing play (all five this season, which rank second only to Baylor, have been scores).
3. The Tigers post a season-high yards per carry (so far the best came against Georgia/N.C. State, 4.28).
Final Score: Clemson 48-20
(5-0 overall; 4-1 ATS on picks)