CLEMSON - CUTigers grades Clemson's performance in Saturday's win over Boston College.
Lightning strikes three times in win
The first came in the form of a flash from C.J. Spiller, who took a punt 77 yards for a touchdown after Boston College's opening drive, giving Clemson an early 7-0 lead. The next two came from the sky, delaying Clemson and Boston College for 55 minutes with 5:02 left in the third quarter and for 48 minutes with 13:56 left in the fourth quarter, making it was the longest game in Clemson history.
"It was a sloppy day," said Coach Dabo Swinney, "these wins are hard to get. Anyway you can get one is a good thing.
"As long as I've been in college football, I've never experienced anything like that."
Fortunately, the presence of C.J. Spiller made things a little easier for Clemson to improve to 2-1 overall and 1-1 in conference. The loss drops Boston College to 2-1 overall and 0-1 in conference play.
Spiller set a school record on the touchdown. He's the first player in Clemson history to reach pay dirt five different ways (rushing, receiving, kick return, punt return and passing). It was his first punt return for touchdown in his Clemson career.
Unfortunately, injured toes continue to be an issue as he sat out much of the second half.
The toes between the big and little ones on his right foot are the ones that are hurt.
"I'm playing every game. I'm not going to sit out any," Spiller said. "I'm going to go as long as I can go and I'm going to let the other two guys go in there."
Spiller led the way with a game high 77 yards on 17 carries, Andre Ellington had 45 on nine carries, Jamie Harper had 17 on 13 carries and Jacoby Ford chipped in with 17. The team finished with 150 yards rushing.
Most of the yards were racked up before Clemson entered the red zone. That's one of the biggest concerns for offensive coordinator Billy Napier. He said the coaches must do a better job of getting the offense into better position to score touchdowns inside the red area so the offense won't have to settle for field goals.
"We put a number of good drives together but we just stalled when we got down there," he said. "Ultimately, our coaches have to do a better job…we will put a huge emphasis on those red zone opportunities this week."
Play calling for much of the afternoon was conservative. Swinney said they were able to get away without making aggressive play calls because of how well the defense was playing.
Kyle Parker's start made it seem pretty apparent that he was going to need some help from his teammates on the defensive side of the ball. But he was able to shake off the ill-fated throws and bounced back after being intercepted on the first two drives and managed the game well.
In the face of heavy pressure, his first interception was caught by Wes Davis and the second by Dominik LeGrande.
. Parker finished with 103 yards passing and completed 13 of his 27 attempts.
"I could have played a little bit better to help us out but that's the way it goes," he said.
It was enough to win though. And that's what matters most at the end of the day.
Swinney said Parker finally looked like a freshman.
"That's probably the first time that he made some freshman mistakes," Swinney said. "But he also showed what he's made of. He bounced back and made a throw there in the fourth quarter to keep that drive going and take the air out of the ball…he showed a lot of poise to finish the game out."
"We've got a lot of things we can coach from off of this tape and quickly get ready for a very, very good TCU team coming here next week," Swinney said.
Chris Hairston was removed from the game with a sprained ankle. After the post-game interviews, Sports Information Director Tim Bourret said the injury isn't very serious.
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