Halloween is historically known as a day filled with spooky and scary events. Sometimes those events can even creep onto football fields as games are played. After being without Trevor Lawrence due to testing positive for COVID-19, the Tigers had to survive a Halloween scare of their own.
Tigers Survive Halloween Scare
Eagles Created an Early Scare
By halftime, Boston College had already mounted a 28-13 lead on the Tigers. The Eagles were able to score touchdowns on three of their first four possessions with the ball. On those three possessions, Boston College was able to accumulate 224 yards of offense as each drive covered at least 74 yards. The Eagles’ offense also benefitted from a few penalties typically associated with undisciplined defenses. The Tigers’ defense committed three penalties during crucial times of drives that allowed for better scoring opportunities. The first came on a pass interference in the endzone, setting Boston College at the two-yard line. On a later scoring drive, defensive linemen Bryan Bresee and Nyles Pinckney both committed crucial offsides penalties that allowed the drive to continue. Pinckney’s penalty came on a fourth and two and gave the Eagles a first down inside of the 20.
The defense was not the only unit to create a scare for the Tigers on Halloween. Having to replace Lawrence, Dj Uiagalelei had a solid performance with 342 passing yards. Even Travis Etienne was having an impressive outing all game. For the Clemson offense, struggles came near the red zone. Of the five possessions they had, three ended in the red zone and only ten points were scored. Clemson’s offense also allowed seven points to the Boston College defense when Etienne did not properly receive a handoff from Uiagalelei on the one-yard line. The Tiger offense was able to end the scary half with a 50-yard field goal from B.T. Potter as time was running out.
Tigers Comeback to Survive Scare
Clemson outscored Boston College 21-0 in the second half to end the Eagles’ chances of finishing the Halloween scare. Brent Venables’ defense finished the game by forcing four punts and a safety. The safety by Bresee put the game away with just over a minute left in the game. The Clemson defense was simply dominant during the second half. Boston College’s offense was only able to accumulate 50 yards and had three of their five drives end with zero or negative yards gained. Stats like these have become a staple of Venables’ defenses. Play like this is also going to be required going forward to avoid any more close calls.
Etienne and Uiagalelei were able to keep the Clemson offense running through the second half to accumulate the 21 points scored. Uiagalelei accounted for two scores and Etienne ran one in. Etienne’s touchdown put the Tigers ahead and was the last touchdown of the game. Efficiency was fixed as the offense committed no turnovers. The only issue for the Tigers was the lack of scoring during their final two drives. Each ended in a punt and forced the defense to secure the comeback twice.
The bottom line is that Clemson did not play like a number one team and has not for the last two weeks. Venables’ defense flashed its talent against the Eagles by creating turnovers but lacked discipline. The unit accumulated penalties and allowed big scoring plays. This defense must play entire games as they did during the second half in order to dominate games. Luckily, the offense will not skip a beat with either Lawrence or Uiagalelei at quarterback. The Tigers will need both sides to perform at their best next week against Notre Dame. Performances like this past week will result in a loss for the Tigers. The Irish will likely come out swinging and should be the biggest test for Clemson this season.