These games are like throwbacks.
There’s an old-school feel to Clemson-Boston College because the game they play in New England, reminiscent of high tops and those leather helmets with no facemasks that they give to the MVP of this game each season.
Those 100-inch deep snow storms make New Englanders angry, so when the next football season comes around, there’s a cauldron of anger that’s been bubbling for months. So even in a blowout, Boston College leaves bruises.
Steve Addazio’s teams and those of the coaches who preceded him at BC have always played Clemson tough during the Eagles’ tenure in the ACC, and Saturday night wasn’t any different.
Though Clemson won by 17 points, and it really wasn’t that close, at the end of a long overdue perfect night, coach Dabo Swinney exhaled, looked to the sky and said a quick prayer of thanks.
“BC is a tough, well-coached physical football team,” Swinney said. “I liked our guys’ mentality all night. We just missed some plays in the first half. We settled down and we came back and we just lit it up in the second half.”
If there are lingering questions about Clemson’s ability to throw and catch, let’s see the hands.
How about those who wondered if Tony Elliott and Jeff Scott together were capable of filling Chad Morris’ playbook as co-offensive coordinators. Any more questions?
Coming out with the intention of taking Boston College down by halftime, Clemson needed another quarter. But the results were precisely what Elliott and Scott intended.
A team that led the nation in total defense, rush defense and pass defense was smacked around for 532 yards.
BC’s first six opponents averaged 140 yards a game. The three previous opponents totaled 523 yards – combined.
“It was good to see us stay with the plan and just make those plays,” Swinney said. “Hats off to our offensive staff and our offense just for getting it done.”
Swinney preaches that winning isn’t easy, and Michigan State, LSU and Memphis say “amen.” Yet midway through this season Clemson hasn’t lost, and in all likelihood will be favored in each of its next six games.
The next three games are road trips — Miami first, and come Monday that’s the focus. The polls and the College Football Playoffs are the pot of gold, so they won’t waste any anxiety on where they’re ranked.
“We’ve got excellent leadership on this team,” Swinney said. “We’ve got guys that get it.
“We enjoy the win and when we come in Monday we look straight ahead.”
Deshaun Watson isn’t perfect, but he’s pretty darned good. The young skill players like Deon Cain and Hunter Renfrow are just beginning to find themselves. Defensively, this group may be better than last season’s, which finished No. 1.
Boston College saw the standard up close.
“Our guys realize and believe wholeheartedly that we’re the best team,” Swinney said. “We’re not cocky or anything like that. We know anybody can beat us, too.
“We just don’t want to lose a game to get serious.”