|Halftime analysis: BC leads Clemson, 16-10||10.30.10 at 2:00 pm ET|
CHESTNUT HILL– This is what the Eagles should look like.
Amidst their recent struggles, the BC team has played solid football on every side of the ball. After throwing an early interception, Chase Rettig regained his form to make some big throws and Montel Harris continued his elusive running to give BC a 16-10 lead at halftime over Clemson. The Eagles defense also played well against a potent Clemson attack and refused to give up big plays, holding Clemson to only one third-down conversion in the half. Even the special teams units have pitched in, with three field goals from Nate Freese and a fumble recovery on a second-quarter kickoff.
BC (2-5, 0-4 ACC) and Clemson (4-3, 2-2 ACC) met in Chestnut Hill for this year’s battle of the O’Rourke-McFadden Trophy. The trophy is awarded annually to the winner of the BC-Clemson football game to commemorate the rich football traditions of both schools. The Eagles have won four of the last six meeting but have lost two consecutive games to Clemson. The Boston College Gridiron Club initiated the award in recognition of Clemson’s welcoming of BC into the ACC.
Since 2003, BC has been one of the conference’s top teams — but this year is proving to be an exception. BC, trying to snap a five-game losing streak, will have to go through a Clemson team that has had played well this year but lost a few close games to high-ranked teams like Miami (FL) and Auburn.
Last week’s game against Maryland was one of BC’s better performances, as the Eagles rallied in the second half but fell just short.The BC offense has been sparked by the rejuvenated play of Harris in the past two weeks as he passed 3,000 career yards against Maryland but inconsistent quarterback play has given opposing teams too many scoring chances in recent weeks.
This week started no differently. With 11:59 in the first quarter, Rettig threw a pass intercepted by Rashard Hall for a 52-yard touchdown return.
Rettig recovered nicely and on the next BC drive, threw a 40-yard pass to Ifeanyi Momah to bring the Eagles to the 2-yard line. However, Clemson executed a strong goal line stand and forced BC to settle for a 21-yard Freese field goal to bring the game to 7-3.
Clemson responded with a 64-yard drive that ended in a Chandler Catanzaro field goal to bring the Clemson lead to 10-3.
In the second quarter, BC mounted a 62-yard drive that encompassed over nine minutes but once again failed to score in the red zone, leading to a 36-yard Freese field goal.
The next Ryan Quigley kickoff was fumbled by Clemson and recovered by BC linebacker Steele Divitto at the Clemson 36-yard line. The resulting play led to a 36-yard touchdown pass to a wide open Harris to give the Eagles a 13-10 lead. It was the Eagles’ first lead at home since a Sept. 11 win against Kent State.
Possibly the most surprising statistics were that BC did not punt once in the first half and recorded 220 offensive yards while holding Clemson to only 92.
The half ended strangely as coach Frank Spaziani and the Eagles made the call to let the clock run down while inside the Clemson 20-yard line. The BC offense had established a solid rhythm after Catanzaro missed a Clemson field goal from the 26-yard line. Fans booed, hoping for a more aggressive approach to finish the half. Freese nailed another 36-yard kick to bring the lead to 16-10 as the half expired.
Rettig finished the first half going 4-for-6 attempts with 91 yards, one touchdown, and one interception. Harris had another big half, carrying 23 times for 109 yards and his only reception came on his 36-yard touchdown catch. Harris recorded his fifth game of the season with over 100 yards to continue his assault on the BC record books.
Notes from the game:
Right tackle Rich Lapham was taken out of the game with a left knee injury and he will not return. Lapham is a 6’8’’ sophomore who is a crucial member of the strong BC offensive line.
Standout linebacker Luke Kuechly recorded six tackles, including his 100th tackle of the season. A true freshman, Kuechly has been amongst the nation’s best and vital member of a strong linebacker trio in Chestnut Hill.