#25 Clemson Wins a Defensive Battle Over Boston College 19-13

CLEMSON, S.C. – Placekicker B.T. Potter accounted for 13 points, hitting all four of his field goal attempts and adding an extra point to help No. 25 Clemson (3-2, 2-1 ACC) hold on to a 19-13 win over Boston College (4-1, 0-1 ACC) on homecoming at Memorial Stadium in front of a crowd of 79,159. The win was Clemson’s 31st in a row inside Memorial Stadium, and the 11th consecutive win over the Eagles in the series.

Safety Nolan Turner was honored with the Leather Helmet Award, presented by the Boston College Gridiron Club to the game’s most valuable player. Turner recorded seven tackles and an interception to earn the honor.

Defensively, the Tigers tallied nine tackles for loss, four sacks and forced three turnovers, including K.J. Henry pouncing on a fumble with 49 seconds remaining deep in Clemson territory to secure the win.

On the other side of the ball, Clemson’s running game broke through for 231 yards on 40 carries, an average of 5.8 per rush. Running back Kobe Pace piled up 125 yards on 19 carries on the ground and added 41 yards on a pair of catches for good measure. DJ Uiagalelei threw for a season-high 207 yards and picked up another 50 on the ground. The sophomore quarterback hit Joseph Ngata four times for 111 yards, the second 100-yard receiving game of the season for the junior wide receiver.

Potter, who made field goals of 18, 35, 40 and 42 yards, tied Mark Buchholz for ninth in school history in career field goals made with 37 total.

Pace got the Tigers on the board first with a 59-yard touchdown run in the first quarter. Pace’s 59-yard run was the longest of his career and the longest for Clemson since Travis Etienne’s 72-yard-yard touchdown run against Miami (Fla.) last season.

Potter made field goals of 18 yards and 40 yards in the first half to give the Tigers a 13-6 halftime lead. Boston College would score six points on two made field goals by Connor Lytton of 22 and 34 yards.

The Eagles would score their lone touchdown of the game on a 3-yard run by Patrick Garwo on their opening drive of the second half to tie up the game. Potter would connect on two more field goals of 35 and 42 yards in the second half, with the final giving Clemson a 19-13 lead with a little more than four minutes to play.

The Tigers stopped Boston College with 2:14 to play on fourth down but went three-and-out on the ensuing possession. The Eagles drove deep into Clemson territory. On 2nd-and-10 from the 11-yard line, BC quarterback Dennis Grosel fumbled the snap, which Henry fell on to all but end the contest. Clemson knelt twice to run out the clock.

After an open date next week, Clemson will return to action on Oct. 15 for a Friday night road game at Syracuse. That game is slated for a 7 p.m. ET kickoff on ESPN.

WITH THE WIN…

  • Clemson won its 31st consecutive home game to extend its school record for both the longest home winning streak and longest home unbeaten streak in school history (as well as extend the nation’s longest active home winning streak). Of the 135 players on Clemson’s 2021 roster, 130 have never experienced a home loss in their Clemson careers. Five sixth-year “super seniors” on Clemson’s 2021 roster were on the 2016 team that recovered from a home loss to Pitt by winning the national championship that season.
  • Clemson tied 1890-93 Yale, 1990-95 Texas A&M and 2001-05 Boise State (31 each) for the 18th-longest home winning streak in FBS history.
  • With the win over previously undefeated Boston College, Clemson improved to 10-5 in Death Valley against teams with a 4-0 or better record, including wins in each of the last five instances.
  • Clemson improved to 20-9-2 all-time against Boston College, dating to the teams’ first meeting in the Cotton Bowl on New Year’s Day in 1940.
  • Clemson won its 11th consecutive game against Boston College, dating back to 2011. Clemson’s 11-game winning streak against Boston College is its second-longest active streak against an ACC opponent, trailing Clemson’s 12-game active winning streak against Wake Forest.
  • Clemson’s 11-game winning streak against Boston College is its seventh-longest against a single opponent all-time.
  • Clemson improved to 13-4 against Boston College since the Eagles joined the ACC in 2005.
  • Clemson improved to 13-1 against Boston College under Head Coach Dabo Swinney. The victory also improved Swinney to 8-0 at home against Boston College.
  • Clemson improved to 28-7 in games following a loss under Dabo Swinney, including season openers following a loss in the previous season finale. Clemson has not lost back-to-back games in the same season since November 2011.
  • Clemson, which was No. 25 in the AP Poll this week after being No. 9 in the AP Poll last week, also improved to 27-6 under Dabo Swinney in games in which it enters ranked lower in the AP Poll than it did in its previous contest. That record includes season openers in which Clemson opened a season lower than its ranking from the final game of the previous campaign.
  • Head Coach Dabo Swinney earned his 143rd career win to pass Steve Spurrier for sole possession of the sixth-most wins through the first 15 years of a coaching career in FBS history. Of note, Swinney is only in his 14th season (including an interim season in 2008).
  • Clemson improved to 27-1 in October games in the College Football Playoff era (since 2014). 
  • Clemson defeated an ACC Atlantic Division opponent for the 38th time in its last 40 opportunities, including games against traditional Atlantic opponents in a divisionless season in 2020. 
  • Clemson improved to 54-4 against ACC opponents (including postseason play) since the start of the 2015 season.
  • Clemson moved to 70-5 in regular season play since the start of the 2015 season.
  • Clemson is now 61-3 when scoring first since 2015.
  • Clemson has now won 90 of its last 92 games, including each of its last 53, when leading at halftime.
  • Clemson improved to 111-2 since 2011 when leading after three quarters.
  • Clemson is now 53-2 when having a 100-yard rusher since 2011.
  • Clemson improved to 65-4 when winning the turnover margin since 2011.
  • Clemson is now 70-1 when rushing for 200+ yards under Dabo Swinney.
  • Clemson has now won 92 of its last 93 games when holding teams under 23 points (dates to 2010), including 89 straight prior to a season-opening 10-3 loss to Georgia in 2021.
  • With the six-point victory, Clemson has now won 29 of its last 36 one-possession games since 2011, the highest winning percentage in the country in one-score games in that span.
  • Clemson improved to 74-20-3 all-time in Homecoming games, including a 44-4-2 record in Homecoming games since the 1971 season.

GAME NOTES

  • Clemson finished plus-three in the turnover margin, Clemson’s first time finishing plus-three or better since finishing plus-four in the turnover margin against Pitt last November.
  • Clemson did not have any giveaways, its first turnover-free game since the third game of the 2020 season against Virginia.
  • Clemson held Boston College to 4.8 yards per play and still has not allowed an opponent to average 5.0 or more yards per play in a game this season.
  • Clemson limited Boston College to 46 rushing yards. Prior to Saturday, Boston College had rushed for at least 178 rushing yards in each of its first four games of the season and entered the game ranked second in the ACC at 220.5 rushing yards per game.
  • Clemson recorded 438 yards, its second-most this season behind its 504 yards against South Carolina State.
  • Clemson exceeded both 200 passing yards (207) and 200 rushing yards (231) for the second time this season. Clemson is now 55-0 when both passing and rushing for 200+ yards under Dabo Swinney.
  • Running back Kobe Pace recorded a career-high 125 yards on 19 carries with one touchdown.
  • Pace also added 41 receiving yards on two receptions and 44 return yards on two kickoff returns. His 210 all-purpose yards represented Clemson’s first 200-yard all-purpose performance since Travis Etienne against Boston College a year ago.
  • Pace recorded Clemson’s first 100-yard rushing performance of the season and its first since Travis Etienne’s 124 yards against Notre Dame in last year’s ACC Championship Game.
  • Clemson opened the scoring on its second possession on a 59-yard touchdown run by Pace.
  • The run was the longest of Pace’s career and Clemson’s longest play from scrimmage of the season.
  • Pace’s 59-yard run was Clemson’s longest since Travis Etienne’s 72-yard touchdown run against Miami (Fla.) last season.
  • Pace’s previous career high in rushing yards was 68 against South Carolina State earlier this season. He recorded 76 rushing yards in the first quarter alone on Saturday.
  • Pace added a career-long 33-yard reception in the third quarter.
  • Running back Phil Mafah made his collegiate debut, rushing seven times for 58 yards.
  • Wide receiver Joseph Ngata recorded a career-high 111 yards on four receptions, surpassing his 110-yard performance against Georgia in the season opener. 
  • With Pace and Ngata, respectively, Clemson produced a 100-yard rusher and 100-yard receiver in a single game for the first time since the 2020 ACC Championship Game (Travis Etienne and Amari Rodgers).
  • Ngata recorded a 54-yard reception in the fourth quarter, Clemson’s longest pass completion of the season.
  • On Clemson’s first offensive play, wide receiver Justyn Ross extended his streak of consecutive games with a reception to 32.
  • Tight end Sage Ennis recorded his first career reception on an eight-yard pass from quarterback DJ Uiagalelei in the second quarter.
  • Uiagalelei rushed for 50 yards, giving him at least 50 rushing yards in back-to-back contests for the first time in his career.
  • Placekicker B.T. Potter recorded a season-high and career-high-tying four field goals on four attempts, his first multi-field-goal game of the season. His career high in field goals entering the game was 4-for-4 at Notre Dame last November. 
  • During the game, Potter (37) passed Bob Pauling (34 from 1979-83) and tied Mark Buchholz (37 from 2007-08) for ninth in school history in career field goals made.
  • Potter’s 18-yard second-quarter field goal was the culmination of a 94-yard scoring drive, Clemson’s longest since a 95-yard touchdown drive against LSU in the College Football Playoff National Championship to end the 2019 season.
  • Safety Nolan Turner recorded his first interception of the season in the second quarter.
  • The interception was the seventh of Turner’s career and his first since last year’s game against Syracuse.
  • Turner earned the Leather Helmet Award as the game’s Most Valuable Player, as presented by the Boston College Gridiron Club. He became the second defensive player to earn the award since its institution in 2008, joining Vic Beasley (2013).
  • Turner recorded seven tackles, one shy of the team high of eight (Andrew Booth Jr.).
  • With Turner’s interception, Clemson’s first takeaway of the game, Clemson recorded a takeaway in a sixth consecutive game, dating to last season, for the first time since a nine-game streak in 2019.
  • Safety R.J. Mickens recorded his second interception of the season and of his career in the third quarter.
  • The game was Clemson’s first multi-interception game of the season and its first since intercepting Pitt four times last November.
  • Clemson’s second tackle for loss of the game pushed Clemson to 1,100 tackles for loss since Brent Venables’ arrival as defensive coordinator in 2012. No other program has reached 900 tackles for loss in that span. 
  • Clemson surrendered its first rushing touchdown of the season in the third quarter. Clemson went 18 quarters (and two overtimes) before surrendering a rushing touchdown. It was Clemson’s longest such defensive streak to open a season since 1981, when the eventual national champions held opponents from rushing for a touchdown in any of the first six games of that season.
  • Defensive end Myles Murphy and defensive tackle Ruke Orhorhoro split the game’s first sack in the second quarter. The half-sack was Orhorhoro’s first since 2019 vs. Wake Forest.
  • Murphy added another sack in the fourth quarter, giving him his first multi-sack game since posting 2.0 sacks in his collegiate debut at Wake Forest last season.
  • Defensive end Xavier Thomas recorded a sack on the final play of the third quarter.
  • Thomas has now recorded a full sack in back-to-back games for the first time since the Syracuse and Boston College games last year.
  • In the fourth quarter, Tré Williams added his first career half-sack, splitting a sack with linebacker Baylon Spector.
  • Collectively, Clemson recorded four sacks and has now recorded at least three sacks against three consecutive opponents for the first time since a seven-game streak across the final two games of 2019 and first five games of 2020.
  • Defensive end K.J. Henry sealed the victory with the third fumble recovery of his career with 49 seconds remaining. It was his first since recovering a fumble at Georgia Tech last October.
  • Punter Will Spiers started his 61st game to add to his school record for career starts. Wide receiver/holder Will Swinney’s career total as Clemson’s primary holder parallels Spiers’ run as starting punter.
  • SpiersSwinney and linebacker James Skalski each played their 61st career games to extend their school record for most career games played.
  • Clemson and Boston College met in Death Valley in three consecutive years for the first time in series history. The Eagles joined Duke (1986-88), Virginia (1972-74) and Wake Forest (1957-59 and 1983-85) as the only ACC programs ever to face Clemson in Death Valley in three consecutive seasons.
  • In hosting 4-0 Boston College, Clemson hosted an opponent with a perfect record through four or more games at Death Valley for the 15th time in stadium history. Clemson is now 10-5 at Memorial Stadium against teams with a 4-0 or better record, including wins in each of the last five instances.
  • Head Coach Dabo Swinney coached his 178th career game to tie Virginia and Wake Forest’s Al Groh (178) for fourth-most career games coached as a member of the ACC.
  • Captains for the contest were offensive lineman Matt Bockhorst, wide receiver Frank Ladson Jr., long snapper Jack Maddox and defensive end Regan Upshaw.

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