CLEMSON, S.C. — With his team at 3-3 halfway through the season, and halfway to its goal of becoming bowl eligible, Boston College coach Steve Addazio said he has learned quite a bit about the Eagles.
“They’re tough, they like football, we got a great chemistry going, they’re resilient,’’ Addazio said following Saturday’s 24-14 loss to third-ranked Clemson before a Death Valley crowd of 77,506. “There’s a tremendous amount of will on this football team. I love our players, I love our coaching staff.’’
BC shut out Clemson in the first quarter and led, 7-3, at the half, the first time the Tigers trailed at intermission since their Chick-fil-A Bowl victory over Louisiana State. The Eagles then traded shots with Clemson in the third quarter.
“We played the No. 3 team in America, on their home field, and we played them toe-to-toe,’’ Addazio said.
Just 19 seconds after Clemson’s Tajh Boyd gave the Tigers a 10-7 lead with a 48-yard touchdown strike to Sammy Watkins in the third quarter, BC answered when Chase Rettig found Alex Amidon with a 69-yard scoring pass for a 14-10 lead.
“I just think we’re just really wrapped tight together right now and we’re just swinging away,’’ Addazio said. “There’s no doubt that anybody watching us can’t tell that we’re an improving football program. But we got to go get these wins now. That’s what we came in here to do.’’
Two of a kind
Saturday’s game featured two of the ACC’s top receivers: Amidon and Watkins, both of whom went over 100 yards.
Watkins led Clemson with seven receptions for 101 yards and a TD, reaching the century mark for the third straight week. Amidon (six catches) was the only BC player with more than two receptions. He had a game-high 121 yards receiving, and his 69-yard TD was the longest catch of his career. He had a 68-yard reception last week against Army.
It was Amidon’s third 100-yard receiving effort of the season and 10th of his career. Last week against Army, Amidon surpassed the school record shared by Rich Gunnell (2006-09) and Brian Brennan (1980-83).
Clemson defensive end Vic Beasley, who entered the game with a nation-leading eight sacks, was named the recipient of the O’Rourke-McFadden MVP trophy, which features replicas of the leather helmets worn by BC’s Charlie O’Rourke and Clemson’s Banks McFadden when they competed against each other in the 1940 Cotton Bowl. Beasley, who had been largely quiet in the first three quarters, scored on a 13-yard fumble return off Tony Steward’s strip-sack of Rettig, giving Clemson a 24-14 lead with 12:42 to go. Beasley finished with five tackles, a sack, two tackles for losses, a fumble recovery, and a pass breakup. “They were huge today and a huge reason why we won,’’ Boyd said of the Tigers’ defense . . . BC forced two Clemson turnovers, with Steele Divitto and Bryce Jones coming up with fumble recoveries. “I thought we had a really good plan,’’ said BC defensive coordinator Don Brown, who rolled out nine different packages against Clemson. “We’re coming off the Army week when you’re having to defend the triple option, then we have to flip gears and defend one of the top offenses in the country. I just thought our players responded positively.’’ . . . Clemson kicker Chandler Catanzaro missed a 25-yard chip shot in the first quarter after having made 28 consecutive field goal attempts from inside 48 yards. Catanaro’s 35-yarder on the last play of the second quarter prevented Clemson from being shut out in the first half for the first time since November 2010 . . . The Eagles have next weekend off before resuming ACC play at North Carolina on Oct. 26.