Clemson, S.C. — The Clemson Tigers knew they had a big test in front of them without Trevor Lawrence not playing due to Covid-19.
DJ Uiagalelei threw for 342 yards and two touchdowns in the absence of Lawrence to rallied No. 1 Clemson down 18-points in the first half to defeat Boston College 34-28 on Saturday at Death Valley. Uiagalelei ended up with a terrific performance and stayed poised in this historic game.
Boston College (4-3, 3-3) took advantage of the Lawrence absence, going up early 28-10 in the second quarter which stunned the crowd in attendance.
Clemson coach Dabo Swinney told his team at halftime, “Don’t flinch.”
“It’s been a long time since we’ve been down like this,” he said. “We’re fixing to find out what this team’s made of.”
Travis Etienne became the ACC’s all-time rushing leader and his second TD put Clemson (7-0, 6-0 ACC) ahead for good. A crazy week for Clemson ended with its 28th straight win over league competition, 10th straight over Boston College and 27th in a row at Death Valley.
Etienne had 264 all-purpose yards and scored two touchdowns, including the go-ahead score in the fourth quarter. On the last play of the third quarter Etienne changed the game with a 17-yard touchdown run with 11:34 to go.
Etienne also had seven catches for 140 yards. Cornell Powell had a game-high 11 receptions for 105 yards. Rodgers added seven grabs for 66 yards with a touchdown.
“We knew going into the game that we had to step up and make plays,” Etienne said. “Even when Trevor is in there, we try to make plays, of course. But we just kind of rallied around Uiagalelei and just kind of had that confidence about us all week.”
BC got the ball back with 1:24 to go. Then Phil Jurkovec was called for intentional grounding in the end zone for a Tigers’ safety.
The Eagles took advantage of the Clemson defense early on with TDs on its first two series.
Phil Jurkovec found Zay Flowers for an 18-yard TD pass to put the BC up quickly. A short time later, it was David Bailey’s 2-yard scoring run that put Boston College ahead for good, 14-7.
Clemson was driving to the Eagles 1. But Etienne fumbled the handoff from Uiagalelei, cornerback Brandon Sebastian picked it up and sprinted 97 yards for a score.
BC Jurkovec hit C.J. Lewis for an 18-yard touchdown on the next series, the Tigers trailed by 18 points.
Jurkovec, the Notre Dame transfer, completed 12 of 24 passes for 204 yards.
“Really proud of those older guys for stepping up,” Clemson offensive coordinator Tony Elliott said. “We told them, ‘Hey, we can’t put it all on the young guy. Everybody is going to have to take full responsibility to help him get settled in.’ ”