COLLEGE FOOTBALL LOOK AHEAD

No. 4 Clemson readies for BC ground attack

Field Level Media

October 23, 2019 at 4:55 am.

No. 4 Clemson will attempt to extend the nation’s longest active winning streak Saturday against a Boston College team that isn’t difficult to decipher.

“It’s run, run, run,” Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said. “They’re going to line up and run the ball.”

That has proven an effective approach for Boston College, which has a rushing offense ranked sixth nationally at 278.3 yards per game.

Junior running back A.J. Dillon leads the Eagles’ potent rushing attack with an average of 138.3 yards per game.

“He’s going to go right through you,” Swinney said. “He will just drag you. He’s a big, physical old-school back. It’s a big challenge. Our guys better get those big-boy pads out.”

Dillon is not alone.

The Eagles also have David Bailey, who rushed for 181 yards last week in a victory against North Carolina State that improved Boston College to 4-3 overall and 2-2 in the Atlantic Coast Conference. The Eagles amassed 429 yards on the ground against the Wolfpack.

“They are two big backs who like contact,” Swinney said. “You can’t grow weary, because they’re not.”

Clemson has kept Dillon in check the last two seasons, holding him to just 2.8 yards per carry on 34 attempts, and continuing its recent domination in the series.

The Tigers, who have slipped to No. 4 despite winning by 31 and 35 points the last two weeks, have outscored Boston College 117-24 over the last three seasons and have an eight-game winning streak against the Eagles.

Clemson, which has held seven straight opponents to 300 or less yards, is 7-0 and 5-0 in the ACC as it seeks a fifth consecutive conference championship. The Tigers have won a school-record 22 straight games and are the defending national champions.

“There’s no doubt in my mind that they’re the No. 1 team in the country — skilled, talented everywhere, proven it on the field,” Boston College coach Steve Addazio said. “So when I watch their tape, I see no weaknesses. I see great athletes and a great coaching staff.

“I think their offensive coordinator, their defensive coordinator, those guys are elite guys, and you can tell when you watch the tape how well-coached each side of the ball is.”

The Tigers are led by sophomore Trevor Lawrence, who has 14 touchdowns and eight interceptions and is 18-0 as Clemson’s starting quarterback over the past two seasons. Junior running back Travis Etienne has rushed for 781 yards this season and is averaging 8.0 yards per carry.

Addazio, whose team lost quarterback Anthony Brown for the season with a knee injury on Oct. 5, fully understands why his team will enter Saturday’s game at Clemson’s Memorial Stadium as a 34-point underdog.

“We’re going down to play an elite football team,” Addazio said. “They have a lot of elite players in their program, on their team. That’s very obvious when you watch the tape.

“The challenges will be high, but we’re looking forward to it. We had a great meeting yesterday with our team. The team had a lot of energy, a lot of juice, excited about the game. Looking forward to getting down there and playing.”