Clemson Football: Oppo Research – Boston College Eagles

Oct 2, 2021; Clemson, South Carolina, USA; Clemson Tigers safety Nolan Turner (24) tackles Boston College Eagles running back Pat Garwo III (24) during the first quarter at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hagy-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 2, 2021; Clemson, South Carolina, USA; Clemson Tigers safety Nolan Turner (24) tackles Boston College Eagles running back Pat Garwo III (24) during the first quarter at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hagy-USA TODAY Sports /

The trap game is here for Clemson football.  If you read all of Clemson Twitter and some national talking heads, this weekend’s contest up in Boston has all the makings of a trap game for our Tigers.

I’ll be honest, I was worried about last week’s game.  Houston Burnett of The Morgan Thomas Show and a contributor here talked me off the ledge late in the week when reading his column on the game.  However, the nerves kicked in even during the opening quarter.  That was short-lived when I came to the conclusion that NC State’s offense was flat-out not good.

Moving on to Week 6.  Up in Chestnut Hill, a suburb of Boston, for the (very cool) Red Bandana game in honor of fallen former BC Lacrosse Player Welles Crowther who lost his life-saving others on that terrible day back in September 2001.  A true hero, and if you ever get the opportunity to get to a Red Bandana game, I highly recommend it.  Just a goosebump night up there.

Just in time for the Tigers was an improbable win for BC versus the spiraling Louisville Cardinals last week 34-33.  Quarterback Phil Jurkovec looked pretty good, but Zay Flowers was other-worldly a week ago.  With that being said…

Here is your preview of the Boston College Eagles of Chestnut Hill, MA:

7:30 PM ET. 5-0. ABC. 2-3. 879. Saturday, October 8. 826. Clemson -20.5 Over/Under 48.5

Head Coach Jeff Hafley is in his third year as the Head Coach of the Eagles, having come over after a stint at Ohio State University as the Co-Defensive Coordinator.  Prior to that he was Defensive Backs coach in the NFL (49ers, Browns, Buccaneers) after stints at Rutgers, Pitt, and Albany.  Hafley enters the game with a cumulative record of 14-14 as the head man of BC.  Never finishing better than 6 wins in his previous two seasons, the Eagles are currently 2-3 on the 2022 season.


Offensive Coordinator John McNulty brings well over 30 years of coaching experience and enters his 1st year as the OC of BC.  He was the coordinator for Rutgers on two separate occasions and also has many years coaching in the NFL, as well as coaching positions at Notre Dame, Penn State, UConn and Michigan.

Boston College is 2-3 on the season with their wins coming against: Maine (38-17) and Louisville (34-33) and losses against: Rutgers (22-21), Virginia Tech (27-10) and Florida State (44-14).

Here is a look at the projected starters on Offense:

Quarterback – Phil Jurkovec – Senior – 96-150-64% – 1147 yards, 10 TDs, 6 Ints.

Running Back – Pat Garwo – Jr. – 62 attempts, 225 yards 2 TDs

Wide Receiver – Jaden Williams – Soph – 9 rec. 129 yards, 2 TDs

Wide Receiver – Jaelen Gill – Senior – 11 rec. 205 yards,

Wide Receiver – Zay Flowers – Senior – 34 rec. 481 yards, 5 TDs

Tight End – George Takacs – Senior – 17 rec. 176 yards, 1 TD

Left Tackle – Ozzy Trapilo – Soph

Left Guard – Finn Dirstine – Senior

Center – Drew Kendall – Freshman

Right Guard – Dwayne Allick – Soph

Right Tackle – Jack Conley – Jr.

Quarterback Phil Jurkovec gave the Tigers fits two years ago in Death Valley leading the Eagles out to a big lead before DJ Uiagalelei led the Tigers to a victory in a very close game.  Jurkovec has gotten sacked an incredible 17 times already this season and has thrown 6 interceptions.  He’s still a quarterback that projects to be on an NFL roster in the near future.  Big, able-bodied quarterback that, when healthy, can lead his team to victories.

BC rushing attack a season ago was their strength.  This season?  They’d rather not run if they don’t have to.  Returning star Pat Garwo has not been able to really break out as of yet, although a nice game last week versus Louisville may be the start of something good if you’re an Eagles fan.  Alec Sinkfield and Alex Broome will get some touches as well, and the freshman Broome broke out for 83 yards last week with a touchdown and a long run of 40-yards.  However, the Eagles are currently ranked in the bottom 5 of the nation in rushing.  Not what we’re used to seeing.

BC runs a similar offense to NC State, so Tiger fans are going to see some more of the traditional, i.e. old-school offensive philosophy.  Even though they have not been even good rushing the football, they are a run-first offense.  BC’s big play-maker is Senior slot, do-everything receiver, Zay Flowers.  Like Thayer Thomas from a week ago, Flowers has been targeted and has OVER three times as many times as any other wide receiver.  He is a load to cover.  34 receptions, 481 yards and 5 touchdowns through 5 games, including two circus catches a week ago.  He is must watch television, and the Tigers must take him away to run away with this one.

Jaelen Gill is a shorter receiver, but he is a threat to beat DBs as well.  If Clemson is able to bottle up Flowers, be prepared to see Jurkovec target Gill more in the passing game.  Also, as always with Boston College, their TE will get involved and they have a good one again this season in Senior George Takacs.  He currently is second on the team with 17 receptions.

The offensive line is in shambles, as 4 of the projected starters pre-season are all out with extended and season-ending injuries.  The depth chart looks like there is a ton of questions as Left Tackle, Center and Right Tackle all have “Or” and another name as projected starters.  The only guys solidified into starting this week are at the interior guard spots with Senior Left Guard Finn Dirstine and Sophomore Right Guard Dwayne Allick, and they are both subject to change.  With the running game ranking towards the bottom in all of college football, there are obvious holes in this position group.

The offense averages 23.4 points per game; 239.6 yards passing and 77.8 yards rushing for a total of 317.4 yards of offense per game.


Onto the defensive side of the ball: Defensive Coordinator Tem Lukabu enters his third season at Boston College.  A hot younger name in coaching, Lukabu has had three stints in the NFL (Bengals, 49ers and Buccaneers), and stops along the way at Mississippi State, FIU, Rutgers, Colgate and Rhode Island.  Lukabu has led some really good defenses at BC, and always seems to have a dominant defensive line and a tackling-machine at linebacker.

Here is a look at the projected starters for the defense:

Defensive End – Marcus Valdez – Senior – 10 tackles; 1 Sack

Nose Tackle – Chibueze Onwuka – Senior – 18 tackles; 1 Sack

Defensive Tackle – Cam Horsley – Junior –  10 Tackles

Defensive End – Donovan Ezeiruaku – Soph. – 27 Tackles; 2 Sacks

Sam Linebacker – Kam Arnold – Junior – 33 Tackles; 2 INTs

Middle Linebacker – Bryce Steele – Soph. – 25 Tackles; 1 Sack

Will Linebacker – Vinny DePalma – Senior – 43 Tackles

Cornerback – Jalen Cheek – Freshman – 3 Tackles;

Cornerback – Elijah Jones – Senior – 20 Tackles; 1 Sack; 1 INT

Strong Safety – Jaiden Woodbey – Senior – 31 Tackles

Free Safety – Jason Maitre – Senior – 20 Tackles; 1 INT

Nickelback – Josh DeBerry – Senior -26 Tackles

Surprisingly, leading tackler Vinny DePalma is listed as a starter OR Junior Kam Arnold at the weakside linebacker position.  Both will start, and we will also expect Freshman Jaylen Blackwell (13 Tackles; 2 Sacks) to see significant snaps as well.

The defense that we are used to seeing at Boston College is known for their girth up front with tackling machines at linebacker.  BC seems to have the tackling part down, but not necessarily the power up front so far in the young season.

They have 5 takeaways on the season with 4 interceptions and one fumble recoveries and a -4 in the turnover margin on the season.

BC is giving up an average of 28.6 Points per game; 154.4 yards rushing against and 218.8 yards through the air for a total of 373.2 yards per game.

Here are the projected starters on Special Teams:

Punter – Danny Longman – Senior – 42.3 yards average

Place Kicker – Connor Lytton – Sophomore – 4-7 FGs; long of 46 yards

Punt Returner – Zay Flowers – Senior – 6.5 yard average

Kick Returner – Jaelen Gill – Senior – 26 yard average

Clemson football faces a BC team that has been a surprise and not in a good way

BC has been the surprise of the ACC for me personally.  I thought that with a healthy Phil Jurkovec and Zay Flowers coming back that they would compete for the top spot in the ACC Atlantic.  That duo gave the Tigers fits two years ago in Death Valley, and these two teams usually produce an extremely physical game every matchup.

It seems like something is missing for BC this year.  Where they were perennially dominant on both lines of scrimmage, injuries and depth has reared its head and they’ve struggled.  Even for the Red Bandana game, I believe Clemson will win going away.

879. 10. 826. Prediction. 35

All odds courtesy WynnBet.

Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change

Next. Early odds and analysis: Clemson vs. Boston College. dark