Clemson will return to Death Valley this week when the Tigers face the Boston College Eagles on Saturday, Oct. 2. Clemson and Boston College will meet in Death Valley in a third consecutive year for the first time in series history.
Saturday will be Clemson’s Homecoming, an event that has historically included a Clemson victory 77.6 percent of the time since the first celebration in 1922. Clemson has an overall record of 73-20-3 in its previous 96 Homecoming games. That includes a 43-4-2 record (.898) in Homecoming games since the 1971 season.
"Always one of my favorite week's homecoming and always a great time on campus," Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney said. "Obviously, last year, missed out on a lot of the traditions that we have so exciting that. You know, we build the floats, Tiger Rama and all those things that people really enjoyed about Homecoming here Clemson. A
"So gonna be a fun week night game in the valley. That's always an exciting time. But we'll have a great crowd."
In last week's loss, NC State ran 96 plays to Clemson's 49, a 47-play difference that was Clemson's largest play deficit in records back to 1950, surpassing minus-40 play differentials against North Carolina in 1970 and against Boston College in 1983. Not including two untimed possessions in overtime, NC State held the ball for 41:48, four seconds shy of the longest time of possession by a Clemson opponent since North Texas held the ball for an opponent-record 41:52 against the Tigers in 2010.
The worrisome thing for fans is that Boston College is very similar to NC State.
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"BC is another big challenge for us as we keep moving forward here, they're honestly a lot like NC State," Swinney said. "For the more experienced teams out there, very very veteran group on both sides of the ball 17 starters coming back. They had six or seven all ACC guys in that group. So a lot of experience, therefore, no they're very confident. And they're playing really good football, they're executing very well. Again, I think that's a reflection of, you know, experience and better players that they have."
The good news for the Tigers is that, according to Swinney, it is not far from the outhouse back to the penthouse.
"Sometimes to make progress you have to go backwards," Swinney said. "You won't make progress if you're not more disciplined and don't do things with fundamentals. You have to be better at the basics.
"Fundamentals, technique, discipline, ball security, missed assignments ... the basics. They jump out. They beat you. That's the difference. Nobody wants to hear it but the reality is we're two or three less mistakes from being 4-0. We wouldn't be much better as a team but y'all would be asking me different questions. We stunk it up last Saturday but still had a chance to win in double overtime. It's not that far from the penthouse to the outhouse. And it's not that far from the outhouse to the penthouse."
Clemson's defense helped keep the Tigers in the game despite spending an immense amount of time on the field and despite losing starters Bryan Bresee and James Skalski to injury during the contest. The Tigers were also without starting tackle Tyler Davis–who is out with a torn bicep.
However, Swinney believes that the loss of Bresee and Davis will create opportunities for other players to shine.
"They're (Boston College's offensive Line) all starters, a couple of preseason All-Americans, they're massive. They know all the nuances of that offense," Swinney said. "They're crafty. That's what comes with experience. They're a downhill, cohesive unit. We have a big, big challenge. And we have no Bresee or Tyler Davis, so what an opportunity for other guys. They're going to be tested."