CLEMSON — The nation’s leading defense in yards given up per game, Boston College, will travel this week to face the nation’s most efficient (according to ESPN) defense in Clemson.
This weekend’s match-up between the Tigers and Eagles looks to be the type of defensive match-up loved by the older generation and SEC coaches. Were this a Thursday night game, Big 12 coaches would likely be taking notes in an attempt to avoid giving up basketball scores yet again on Saturday.
The Eagles come into the match having given up 43 points in six games. The Eagles are giving up only seven points per game. That defense is fifth in tackles for loss with nine per game, and is first in pass efficiency defense as opposing quarterbacks have combined for only one touchdown in 2015 against four interceptions.
While Boston College has the advantage in pure numbers, Clemson has put up similar numbers against much tougher competition, a fact that has led them to the top ranking in defensive efficiency. Clemson is giving up 16.6 points per game, but has played three consecutive quality games against Louisville, Notre Dame and Georgia Tech.
Clemson also has more tackles for loss than BC, coming in at 9.6 per game.
While the two defenses come in about even, the offenses are worlds apart. Clemson’s offense has sputtered at times, but looks to have found its groove last week against Georgia Tech.
The Tigers are scoring 35 points per game behind their sophomore phenoms Deshaun Watson and Wayne Gallman. The emergence of true freshman Deon Cain looks to be key in replacing Mike Williams who is likely going to be out for the remainder of the season.
The offensive line, which was inexperienced and largely questioned just a few weeks ago, has improved at an impressive rate and has been able to protect Watson and pave the way for Gallman’s 536 rushing yards.
Offensively, the Eagles have been inept at best. While they managed to put up 76 points against Howard, they have failed to score that in every other game combined this year. In fact, outside of the Howard game, BC has scored just 48 points all year.
Freshman QB Troy Flutie has struggled in the early going. With Sophomore QB Darius Wade out for the season, the Eagles have been left largely one dimensional, a fact that does not bode well against a defense that shut down Georgia Tech’s largely one-dimensional offense.
While Clemson fans would love to see the Tigers put the Eagles away early and get plenty of reps for younger players, it’s more likely this game will be close all the way. Boston College always finds a way to play Clemson close, regardless of the venue, and their defense will keep them around all day. If Clemson’s defense has no blown coverages, though, a shutout may be in the works.
Reach James Inabinet at 803-635-4016.