Back Hot Read: Uiagalelei, Etienne Star as Tigers Rally

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Hot Read: Uiagalelei, Etienne Star as Tigers Rally

By BJ Bennett
SouthernPigskin.com
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Clemson overcomes an 18-point deficit to come back and beat Boston College 34-28.

1. After an impressive start by a good Boston College team, with the Eagles scoring touchdowns on their first two drives, Brandan Sebastian returning a fumble 97 yards for a touchdown C.J. Lewis making a highlight reel touchdown catch, Clemson was down 28-10 late in the first half. With star quarterback Trevor Lawrence out with covid, momentum clearly in Boston College's favor and the pressure mounting, true freshman quarterback D.J. Uiagalelei and the Tigers responded. From that point on, Clemson outscored the Eagles 22-0 and dominated the game. Uiagalelei was excellent, the Tigers settled downd defensively and nation's number one team overcame early adversity for their 36th consecutive regular season win.

2. Uiagalelei starred. Stepping in and making his first career start in Lawrence's stead, his production was a continuation of Lawrence's great play. He completed 30-of-41 passes for 342 yards and two touchdowns, adding a critical 30-yard touchdown run on an important fourth down. Replacing the most high-profile player in the game, Uiagalelei was poised and proficient and, even after an early deficit, comfortable and calm. It was a remarkable performance from a talented player who made quite the introduction to college football. What a showing. It goes without saying that Uiagalelei is poised to one day be the next-in-line in Clemson's incredible quarterback legacy.

3. Respect the GOAT. Travis Etienne became the ACC's all-time leading rusher on Saturday, topping NC State legend Ted Brown. After 20 carries for 84 yards, Etienne now has 4,644 career yards, all at a remarkable 7.5 yards per carry. Fittingly, he claimed the mark on a go-ahead 17-yard touchdown run. One a day where Etienne became the league's most productive runner ever, he also caught seven passes for a career high 140 yards and a touchdown and had a 40-yard kickoff return. Etienne is college football's best playmaker and is on the short list for the best running back the game has ever seen.

4. After some major struggles early, credit Clemson's defense for a notable turnaround. The Tigers held Boston College scoreless in the second half and, though it was dramatic, finally got a game-saving stop on a 4th downs with just over two minutes remaining and a safety at the end of the game. It was a different Clemson defense in the third and fourth quarters. Punter Will Spiers deserves credit for his last two kicks, both pinning the Eagles inside their own 10-yard line late. His final boot set up the Tigers' defensive score. 

5. Boston College made a national statement, albeit in a losing effort. The Eagles went toe-to-toe with the top-ranked Tigers, completely controlled the first half and very nearly pulled off an upset for the ages. Jeff Hafley's program is clearly on the rise and, needless to say, had Clemson's full attention Saturday afternoon. It was a heck of a gameplan and a heck of an effort from Boston College.

BJ Bennett - B.J. Bennett is SouthernPigskin.com's founder and publisher. He is the co-host of "Three & Out" with Kevin Thomas and Ben Troupe on the "Southern Pigskin Radio Network". Email: bj@espncoastal.com / Twitter: @BJBennettSports