BOSTON (AP) To hear Clemson coach Dabo Swinney tell it, there was never any doubt about Stoudt.
Cole Stoudt was the Tigers' starting quarterback coming out of training camp, but he lost the job to highly touted freshman Deshaun Watson four series into their Week 3 game against top-ranked Florida State. When Watson broke a finger in his right hand last week against Louisville, though, Swinney turned back to Stoudt.
''It really wasn't because Cole played bad. It was more that this freshman we have was just unreal,'' Swinney said this week as No. 24 Clemson (4-2, 3-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) prepared to play Boston College. ''But we have all the confidence in the world in Cole Stoudt. We expect him to play at a high level and lead us to victory. We know he's capable of doing that.''
The son of former NFL quarterback Cliff Stoudt, the 6-foot-4 senior was still nursing a shoulder injury when he came into the game against Louisville. He completed 20 of 33 passes for 162 yards while leading the Tigers to three second-half field goals in the 23-17 victory.
''There were a bunch of guys saying they were proud of me and saying I was a gladiator for how I stuck through the game,'' Stoudt said. ''I'm happy because it shows what kind of team we have.''
A victory Saturday would give the Eagles a 2-0 record over ranked teams this season and move them one victory from bowl eligibility.
''This is a BC team that's trying to be different this year and be at the top of the ACC,'' said quarterback Tyler Murphy, who is averaging 118.5 rushing yards per game. ''If we want to do that, we're going to have to beat teams like Clemson.''
Here are some other things to watch in Saturday's game:
QB SHUFFLE: Stoudt isn't exactly new to the job. He has taken snaps in every season - including each of the first six games this season. In all, Stoudt has played in 25 games, completing 148 of 221 passes for 1,391 yards, nine touchdowns and three interceptions. ''We believe in Cole,'' defensive tackle DeShawn Williams said. ''We just let him know that his brothers have his back.''
BEASLEY THE BEAST: The biggest worry for Addazio this week was Clemson defensive lineman Vic Beasley and the rest of the Tigers defensive front. ''I haven't seen a defense like this since we played Alabama in the SEC championship game,'' said Addazio, who was on the staff at Florida when the Gators and Crimson Tide met for the conference title in 2008 and `09. ''You drop back to pass against these guys, you better have a plan, and you better be able to get out.''
THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY: Last year, Addazio's first at BC, the Tigers scored a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns to beat BC 24-14. Tajh Boyd scored a touchdown early in the fourth, and on BC's ensuing possession Tony Steward strip-sacked Chase Rettig and Beasley picked up the ball and ran it 13 yards for a touchdown. ''We led that game most of the way, but at the end of the game, they made the plays they had to make to win the game, which is a sign of a really good football team,'' Addazio said. ''Our program has got to take the next step in those games, and that's what this is all about.''
HISTORY: The teams first met in the 1940 Cotton Bowl, when Clemson won 6-3, but then only twice between 1960 and Boston College's entry into the ACC in 2005. To honor the tradition - it was the first bowl appearance for either school - the winner of the game is awarded the O'Rourke-McFadden Trophy, named for two players from their first matchup. The MVP of the game gets a leather helmet.