#17 Boston College Postgame Notes vs. #2 Clemson
● No. 2 Clemson (10-0, 7-0 ACC) remained undefeated as the Tigers defeated No. 17 Boston College (7-3, 4-2 ACC) 27-7 Saturday night on ABC.
● Boston College dropped to 9-17-2 all-time against Clemson, including a 6-9-1 mark in Chestnut Hill.
● BC lost its first game of the year at Alumni Stadium Saturday, falling to 5-1. It was the lowest point total of the season for the Eagles.
● BC is now 2-30 all-time against Top Five opponents, including a 0-13 mark at home.
● Tonight’s crowd of 44,500 was the first sellout of the season for the Eagles. It marked the 37th all-time sellout and the first since Sept. 23, 2017, vs. Notre Dame.
● Boston College starting quarterback Anthony Brown was injured on the first drive of the game and did not return. Clemson entered the game with the nation’s third-ranked defense allowing just 269.2 yards per game.
● Boston College was held to 23 yards of offense in the first half and one-yard rushing. It was the lowest totals in the first half for the Eagles.
● Senior Michael Walker got BC on the scoreboard with a 74-yard punt return for a touchdown, the first punt return touchdown on his 44th career punt return.
● Walker’s punt return for a TD was the first by an Eagle since Spiffy Evans against Maine (9/5/12) and the 74-yard return was the eighth-longest in BC history. It also marked the first time since 2011 Clemson has allowed a punt return for a touchdown.
● Boston College held Clemson to close to 21 points under its season average of 47.8 points per game.
● A 58-yard punt return TD by Clemson’s Amari Rodgers was the first allowed by BC since C.J. Spiller of Clemson (9/19/09).
● Boston College held Clemson to 5-of-15 on third-down conversion chances.
● Grant Carlson punted a career-high 12 times for 520 yards The redshirt sophomore placed three punts inside the 20 and registered two punts of 50-plus yards.
● Junior cornerback Hamp Cheevers added to his team-leading total with his sixth interception of the season.
BOSTON COLLEGE POSTGAME QUOTES
#17 Boston College vs. #2 Clemson
Nov. 10, 2018
Alumni Stadium | Chestnut Hill, Mass.
Boston College Head Coach Steve Addazio
STEVE ADDAZIO: You had to be able to really get the ball down the field. And we did try at times to do that. That’s where the practice reps come into play, you know, and it’s hard to get two people ready to play in a game. So the bulk of your reps are going to your starting player. And where that shows up sometimes the most is in the throwing game, and having said that, I thought EJ made some great throws in that game. Confident, ripped it a few times in there good. You could see the strength of his arm.
But in fairness, they’re playing some two-trap coverage and he does not have a lot of reps against that kind of coverage. You know, it was a factor, and we were trying to be judicious with it, but towards the end, it was just getting too hard to do that because it was essentially creating nine-man fronts for us. They’re good enough, never mind with the one or two extra hats down there. That’s why the run game was struggling to get going. We needed to challenge that back end more. You’re caught between that and having a young guy in there and you’re playing good on defense, you’re trying to manage that thing and be careful not to lose the confidence of the young quarterback in there on top of everything else. So it gets to be a management issue, and you know, that’s where it was.
Q. At 13-7 at halftime and the way your defense was playing, especially at the end of the first half when you hold them to no points on that final drive, are you going into halftime thinking our defense is good enough, maybe create a turnover and get a short field? Is that kind of what your thinking was?
STEVE ADDAZIO: Yeah. I mean, we tried to get in at halftime and kind of just re-establish what we felt we could do confidently in the second half. You know, not just get reckless out there and give the game away. But we wanted to stay aggressive, and we came back out and ran a couple special and did a couple things, but we felt at that point like, okay, we’re in pretty good shape here, given the obvious crisis that sort of happened to us before we ever had a chance to get going.
But we still felt like we could get ourselves back under control. I felt good about that.
When we came out in the second half, we had the ball, I think we had an opportunity for a 1st down there. We fell short of the 1st down, and then they got the ball and they scored. That’s what widened that gap and made it a 20-7 game and kind of hung in there. I thought that it was important for us to open up the second half and have a good drive and get some points on the board, and I thought we had a chance to do that. You know, and we didn’t get that done in that drive.
I think EJ popped out down the left side, and I thought for sure we had a 1st down there but came up short. Then we ran a short yardage play and they ran a pressure and, again, I thought we’d still have that, and we didn’t get that. Then they scored and that’s probably, looking back, a bit of a turning point right there because if we could have — I thought we could even that score out and then have a chance to drag them into the fourth quarter a little more evened out. I think we got them into the fourth quarter at 20-7, but with our struggles on offense, that concerned me. It just concerned me. I mean, you’re talking about the most dominant defense just about in the country, and we’re trying to adjust on the run now. It’s not exactly favorable.
Q. From GameDay being here to you’re without your starting quarterback almost the whole game, and your defense still is able to keep it a two-score game against the No. 2 team in the country for most of the night, what do you think the message sent to recruits was today?
STEVE ADDAZIO: I think the message to our team was that, as I said to our team, we showed tremendous toughness and battle as a team, with grit. I think anybody watching that game could see that and could see how hard we played on defense, how hard we played on special teams, and how hard we were playing on offense, and just trying to — we didn’t just fall off the pickle boat; we’ve been pretty explosive offensively all year long. But we got dealt a tough blow, and we’re trying to adjust to it amongst this environment. So I think that was plain to see to anybody watching that game. I don’t think you have to be a rocket scientist to see all that. I would have liked to have seen us in the second half put together a couple of drives that would have been more sustained, but again, with some of the snaps and some of the penalties, it was just too hard against that team to keep anything going that way.
I think whoever watched that game could see that. You know, be just like — you wouldn’t want to be them losing their starting quarterback, either. This is year two at that. So hopefully Anthony will be fine, and hopefully, EJ gathered some real tough competitive game experience in a game like this because he certainly has a bunch of ability now. He has a bunch of ability, and he can throw it. He needs now to be able to soak into reps.
I’m telling you, that’s a big piece of this. It’s a big piece because you can’t get two guys ready to go. It’s not fair to a young guy who just doesn’t have a bunch of reps during the week in practice to feel and see all those different coverages that are being played and operated. He’s sharp and tough, and he’ll pick that up. Really, I think he’s a super talented guy. I think he’ll have this game and another week under his belt, and we’ll see where Anthony is. I just don’t have any idea where we are with that right now.
Q. Dillon kind of hobbled off the field late in the game. How is he doing?
STEVE ADDAZIO: You know, he got tweaked up early, and I’ll tell you, that kid is battling. He’s got a rough injury that’s not going anywhere until maybe you get to a bowl game, and it’s just really hobbled him. You know, I thought towards the end of the week he was starting to get better and feel better, but I’m not going to say it out there, but he’s nowhere near 100 percent. He’s just not.
You know, and that’s obvious. But he’s tough, and he’s battling, and he keeps fighting back each week. Give him a lot of credit. Admire what he’s battling with, and he’ll battle it back this week. But with these kinds of injuries that he has, they get re-tweaked, and you kind of go back a few days, then you try to make it back up and then you’re back a few days, and it’s just the way it’s going to be until, like I said, we can get some sustained time off his legs and get through it. Some people say bowl game, some people say probably not even until after that. It’s a tough injury for a running back, maybe one of the worst, especially his style.
Q. I know we were talking about the juice and how you guys wanted to treat it like another game, but when you come into this atmosphere and you lose, does it feel almost like — I don’t want to say an opportunity to showcase the team was kind of stolen because you didn’t have your entire complement of weapons, but does it feel almost like you didn’t get a chance to show who you are completely without your starting quarterback?
STEVE ADDAZIO: Well, listen, I’m ecstatic about how our defense played, and I’m proud of our guys. Hey, we’re not going to have a pity party here. It is what it is. I’m excited about EJ Perry coming in and the stage not being too big for him, to be honest with you. I’m excited about that. I’m excited to watch some of the throws that he ripped off in that game. It’s our job now to get him the reps that he needs, especially in the throw game, so that we’re not going to play against zero hole and nine-man boxes. That’s something we’ve gotten away from this year, and now all of a sudden we’re back into that. But he’s got enough arm talent, you’ll see. He’ll be able to get that ball down the field now. And he’s got courage in that pocket, too.
He’ll need a little week here to get back. He had a ton of reps in training camp, but since training camp, he hasn’t had a ton of reps. So he’s going to have an opportunity I’m guessing to get a ton of reps and grow and develop. I guess to answer your question directly, yeah, I mean, in a game like this, on a stage like this, you’d like to feel like you got your full complement, you know? But that didn’t happen. And that’s life. So I’m more concerned now about getting ready for Florida State and getting ourselves back in the groove if you will. That’s my focus right now.
You know, just dealing with where Anthony is going to be or not be, where EJ is going to be or not be. We’ve developed a style, and now I’ve got to see if we can still hang in with that style and be effective the way that we want to be going into week 11. You know, that’s what we’ve got to work on right now.
Q. What can you tell us about Anthony’s injury, if anything? Looked like he went down on his shoulder —
STEVE ADDAZIO: No, no. I don’t think it’s appropriate — usually, I’m pretty straightforward about things, but I don’t think it’s appropriate for me to comment on something that I’m not sure that — where his parents — I’m not sure of all that right now. Suffice it to say that it’s an internal deal in here, so — and I know he’s in the hospital, and I need to get my arms around that when I walk out of here.
Q. And then the second straight year that he’s gotten injured, actually the same week of the season, do you feel for the guy, that he’s kind of worked so hard and not been able to finish the season?
STEVE ADDAZIO: Yeah, of course, your heart goes on, but you know what, I don’t know that we’re dealing with something like we dealt with last year. Last year was a devastating injury that took damn near a year to get back from. I don’t know that we’re down that path right now. I don’t know that. But nevertheless, yes, I do feel he prepared his tail off for this game, and I really feel like we had a great passing game approach for them as they started hunkering down. But they weren’t that hunkered down early in that game. That became a byproduct of where we were.
Yeah, I mean, so many specials that we wanted to get utilized in that, that we had worked on so hard. I can’t even remember with Anthony and how many we got off, if at all one. I don’t remember, when did he go down?
Q. First drive of the game.
STEVE ADDAZIO: It was the first drive?
STEVE ADDAZIO: God almighty. Yeah. Well, I lost track of that right there. I knew it was in the first quarter, but the first drive.
Clemson Head Coach Dabo Swinney
DABO SWINNEY: Okay, man, just tough hard-fought game. Knew it would be coming up here. BC has got a heck of a football team. Really hate that their quarterback got hurt. I hope he’s okay. I told Coach that after the game. Man, they’re a huge challenge.
Just really proud of our guys, the preparation that we had. Had a really good opening drive, and they did a good job on us in the red zone. We had to kick a couple field goals. Wish we could have converted those for touchdowns. But I like how we started as far as offensively and defensively.
The big play in the first half for them was obviously the punt return. We just kind of relaxed. Had two guys there to make a tackle, and I think it hit one of our guys, and I think they just kind of relaxed. But that was disappointing, and then we missed a couple of plays — we had two or three plays with some guys open on some deep balls, but hey, a cold, windy night, not quite as precise on a couple of things as we would have liked to have been, but man, they’re a stout defense.
So I’m proud of our guys, 420 something yards, tough yards, and I’m really proud of Trevor. Really proud of Trevor. He’s a true freshman, and to come up here in this environment and really lead us — you know, he had a few misses and a few mistakes. Obviously didn’t get the 1st down one time. That cost us an opportunity to maybe go get some points. But he’s continuing to learn and grow and get better every week.
This was a big-time game for him, and then defensively, they had nine yards rushing. I mean, so part of that, they had a couple of really bad snaps that took a lot of yards off, but our guys were really dialed in. They’re a big challenge schematically with all the different bunch sets and the tight ends, and they create angles, and they create extra gaps, and you’ve got to get the gaps right. You’ve got to be really disciplined with the play action, and our guys just did an awesome job. I mean, I’m really proud of our defense. I’m giving credit to that D-line.
Again, we had great prep. We tackled well, and Dillon is — man, he’s a 250-pound man coming downhill, and we were able to hold him in check, and that was big for us.
And then when they did get some balls on the edge on us on some of the play action stuff, we were well-positioned, and we were able to come up and make the tackles. They did not have a lot of big plays on us. So just really tremendous.
And then the second half, special teams, we kind of woke up, and we created some field position, which was good, especially in a game like this, and then the punt return was awesome. So that was kind of the dagger. Again, just really proud of our guys for what they’ve accomplished. Obviously made history tonight.
This group has kind of made history all year. Seems like every week they’re doing something that either hasn’t ever been done or hasn’t been done in a long, long time. It is a real credit to this senior group and this junior group. This is a very focused football team that they believe in their vision. They believe in what they want to go achieve, and they’re willing to put the work in, and it’s just a joy to be around them every day.
But you know, this was a — this was just amazing, what they’ve done. This was their 50th win today. They went 23-1 in division play in their career, went 19-1 on the road in their four-year career. I mean, this is just a special group that’s got a lot of experience, and they’re leading every single day.
Really cool to get the division win here. Obviously for me, 10 years ago, this was where we got our very first win, and it’s kind of cool to have several of those guys here. Several of them are on our staff, Miguel Chavis, Da’Quan Bowers, Xavier Dye, Tyler Grisham, Thomas Austin, those guys are all on our staff now, and then C.J. Spiller was kind of our guest of honor for this trip.
You know, I think back 10 years ago, almost to the day, and that first win, and here we are tonight winning our fourth division title. Man, I just — first of all, just thankful to the good Lord for giving me the opportunity, and I’m thankful for all the young men that have been in our program the last 10 years that have helped establish a standard and a culture that we enjoy, because that group that came in here in ’08, trying to get that first win as an interim guy, they couldn’t win a division. They weren’t going to win an ACC Championship. But they believed before anybody else did, and they laid it on the line. So I’m forever thankful for that group. And because of them, we are where we are today. So it’s really cool to be back here and to achieve this.
And thankful for our fans. Our fans were amazing out there today. I mean, we’re a long way from Clemson, and we had an incredible crowd that came here to support us, and I’m just really appreciative of that. We have a very passionate fan base, and I’m excited that they get the opportunity to go back to Charlotte for the ACC Championship game for the fourth year in a row, and I’m thankful to have guys like this. I mean, it’s special. Christian, he jokes around all the time, and he has fun, but I’m telling you, this is one of the best leaders I’ve ever been around. He’s passionate about what he does. He’s passionate about leading. He’s passionate about influencing his teammates, and we were able to get that tight end open today because we faked it to him. He’s mad that we didn’t hand it to him, but I told him, this thing is going to be wide open. You’re the bait.
Anyway, I think we came through pretty healthy. We had a few guys get banged up, tough, physical game. Expected that, but just really proud of our team.