AJ Dillon Provides the Lone Bright Spot in Boston College’s Blowout Down South
By James Hunter Somers
Boston College came into Clemson this Saturday night looking to exploit the positive momentum from last week’s defeat of NC State. After winning the coin toss, Steve Addazio elected to receive the opening kickoff. Although this decision received some criticism, it made sense in theory. If Boston College were to grab an early lead, they could then rely on their powerful backs to keep the ball out of Trevor Lawrence’s hands. Unfortunately, Clemson’s front forced a three-and-out. From here, all plans went out the window.
Clemson football looked to get off to a fast start on offense as well. They went with the trickery on the first play of the drive, throwing deep to the outside receiver off of the flea flicker. Conjuring memories from the Louisville game, the BC corner was simply outpaced. An egregious pass interference moved the ball 15 yards downfield where the Tigers offense resumed the drive. The Eagles defense finally stopped the bleeding in the red zone, holding Clemson to a field goal.
Boston College’s most successful drive of the game came later on in the first quarter. Receiving the ball at the 25-yard line, Dennis Grosel let off a gorgeous pass to his reliable tight end Hunter Long. This was the longest passing play of the for BC game and set the spark that resulted in Boston College’s only score on the day. Racking up a few nice runs, AJ Dillon edged closer to the all-time leading rushing record. With 14 minutes left in the second quarter, Dillon capped off the methodical 15-play drive with a 9-yard trot into the end zone.
After recovering the kick at the 26-yard line, the Clemson Tigers placed their foot on the pedal once again. The Boston College linebackers simply could not catch up with Travis Etienne, who showcased his agility and speed to repeatedly wind around Eagles defenders. Barely 5 minutes into the second quarter, the talented back shoved his way into the end zone for his second score on the day.
AJ Dillon provided the silver lining in a game that quickly got out of hands. Although Boston College failed to generate any points after the second quarter, Dillon comfortably secured the rushing record at the start of the second half. Two runs of 19 and 10 yards gave him enough yards to move his name to the top of the record books. However, he was awarded little time to celebrate. A few plays after his monumental run, the Clemson front managed to break past line of scrimmage and force a fumble on Dennis Grosel. Picking up the ball around the 40-yard line, Logan Rudolph raced across the field and into the end zone. The Clemson Tigers never looked back. Dabo Sweeney rotated the backups into the game over the course of the second half, offering a glimpse at the team’s incredible depth.
Boston College’s hopes of securing a bowl game continue to fade out of the picture. Whereas AJ Dillon and David Bailey offer a lethal one-two punch, their skillset is best suited for games where Boston College claims an early lead. Steve Addazio must find a way to revive his young squad’s spirits before taking on Syracuse on the road next week.