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Clemson survives huge scare from Boston College

Without Trevor Lawrence, the 24.5 point favorites trailed Boston College 28-13 at halftime, but pitched a second half shutout for the win.

Clemson quarterback D.J. Uiagalelei passes the ball during the first quarter of the game against Boston College at Memorial Stadium.  Josh Morgan-USA TODAY Sports

The No. 1 ranked Clemson Tigers survived a potential upset alert, defeating the Boston College Eagles 34-28. The 18-point comeback is the largest at home in the school’s history since 1996.

The Eagles got off to a quick start as quarterback Phil Jurkovec found wide receiver Zay Flowers for a 33-yard touchdown reception in the back of the endzone.

The Tigers without Heisman Trophy favorite Trevor Lawrence because of Covid-19 started freshman quarterback D.J. Uiagalelei. Uiagalelei hit his All-American running back Travis Etienne for a 35-yard touchdown reception for the only TD by the Tigers in the first half. The 6-foot-4 true freshman was 19/26 for 222 yards and a touchdown at the time.

Later in the first quarter, BC retook the lead, putting together a six-play, 65-yard drive, which ended with a two-yard rushing touchdown by running back David Bailey. To start the second quarter, the Eagles extended their lead to 21-7 as Etienne coughed up the football inside the redzone, which was returned by cornerback Brandon Sebastian. It was the second fumble lost in three games by Etienne.

The Eagles averaged 7.2 yards per play on offense without a turnover, and Jurkovec was 8-12 for 161 yards and two touchdowns.

The Tigers clawed back with a scoring drive of their own as Uiagalelei led the offense back down the field, but they failed to punch it in getting stopped at the 15-yard-line. Kicker B.T. Potter added a 33-yard field goal.

With 1:02 left in the first half, Jurkovec found wide receiver C.J. Lewis, who made a ridiculous touchdown catch, displaying top-notch concentration.

To open up the second half, Clemson did not waste any time getting back into the game. Uiagalelei showcased his dual-threat ability on a zone read, scoring a 30-yard rushing touchdown, cutting the Eagles’ lead to 28-20.

After The Tigers’ defense got a stop, the offense put together another scoring drive. This time, Uiagalelei found wide receiver Amari Rodgers for an eight-yard touchdown reception. Rodgers finished the game with seven receptions (eight targets ) for 66 yards. Uiagalelei had 30 completions on 41 attempts with 342 yards and two touchdowns.

Then in the fourth quarter, Clemson completed the comeback with Etienne finding the end zone on a 17-yard run, and the defense sacking Jurkovec in the end zone for a safety. Etienne led Clemson in receiving with seven receptions for 140 yards, while adding 84 yards on the ground.

The #1 Tigers are scheduled to face #4 Notre Dame next weekend in South Bend. The status of Lawrence for that game is yet to be determined.