Boston College wasted no time getting star running back AJ Dillon involved and the Eagles pulled out a few tricks to mess with Miami, and that has helped lead Boston College to a 17-14 lead on the Hurricanes at halftime in Chestnut Hill.
Boston College had an impressive first quarter and has put up 294 yards of offense at halftime on one of the ACC’s top defenses. Dillon has rushed for 80 yards, including his 25-yard run on the first carry of the game. He has had a couple of big runs, but Miami has kept him out of the end zone.
Malik Rosier, as previously reported, got the start at quarterback for Miami, and he has been on target with short and accurate passes. Rosier completed eight of his first nine attempts for 77 yards and a touchdown as Miami looked to keep things pretty simple on offense.
Boston College was the first to put points on the board with a touchdown pass from Brown to Jeff Smith at the end of a 10-play, 88-yard drive on the first offensive series of the game for the home team. Miami tied the game on the ensuing possession with Darrell Langham making an impressive catch that was initially called incomplete but was overturned for a touchdown upon video replay review to confirm he had possession of the football and one foot down before falling out of bounds on the edge of the endzone.
Boston College scored a touchdown on the next drive and added a field goal to build a 17-7 lead in the second quarter. A DeeJay Dallas touchdown run of 10 yards cut into the lead to make it 17-14.
Miami’s defense has typically been solid all season long, so seeing them get confused at times tonight has been surprising, but this is still anyone’s game going to the second half. If Boston College can keep finding ways to stun Miami’s defense, the Eagles could pull this one out. The stakes for the division races for each are pretty high, with both Boston College and Miami in position to challenge for their respective division championships.
If there are any doubts about who the No. 1 team in the country is, Dabo Swinney and company may have used the first half of the ACC Championship Game to erase them. No. 1 Clemson cruised to a fairly effortless 21-0 lead at halftime over No. 7 Miami and do not appear to be done tuning up for the College Football Playoff either.
The Tigers marched right down on the opening drive of the game in what was quite the tone-setter, scoring off of a Travis Etienne four yard touchdown run to immediately put points on the board. Quarterback Kelly Bryant was really sharp through the first two quarters — 15 completions in a row to open the game — and threw for 164 yards, with another 15 yards and a touchdown on the ground. Tailback Adam Choice also added 21 yards and a rushing touchdown as well.
It didn’t take long for Miami’s vaunted turnover chain to make an appearance though, in what was Clemson’s lone mistake in the half after they went 7-of-10 on third down and scored on three of their five drives. Ray-Ray McCloud ended up muffing the first punt of the game and allowed Trent Harris to emerge from a scrum with the ball. That setup a long field goal attempt that missed to the left and otherwise spoiled the momentum from the big play, made even worse as the Tigers went right back down and scored another touchdown.
To add injury to the insult for the Hurricanes, wideout Darrell Langham — a hero in earlier wins and starting in place of the injured Ahmmon Richards — suffered a minor foot injury, defensive back Trajan Bandy was hurt and star defensive end Chad Thomas also had to be helped off.
Those injuries were compounded by the fact that the UM offense couldn’t do much at all against that feisty front seven from Clemson. Malik Rosier had just 27 yards passing and tailback Travis Homer was limited to only 28 yards on the ground.
There’s still plenty of time for a second half rally for Mark Richt’s team in the Hurricanes’ first trip to Charlotte for the ACC title game but it might take a miracle at this point given how banged up the team is and how well the Tigers are looking as they appear well on their way to locking up another playoff bid.