Etienne’s 3 TDs lead No. 4 Clemson past Boston College 59-7
CLEMSON, S.C. (AP) — Diondre Overton finally got his moment. It came in Clemson’s best offensive showing of the season.
The reserve receiver, who had only four touchdowns in his previous three seasons, caught three scoring passes to help the fourth-ranked Tigers win their 23rd straight game, 59-7 over Boston College on Saturday night.
Travis Etienne ran for three TDs as Clemson built a 38-7 by halftime on the way to their fourth 8-0 start in five seasons. And Overton, part of two Clemson national title teams, at last had a starring role.
“Like I told my team, it’s just been a long time coming,” he said, smiling.
Overton, the 6-foot-4 senior from Greensboro, North Carolina, joined the Tigers before 2016 as a highly regarded prospect. But he could never overcome some of Clemson’s other star wideouts like Mike Williams, Tee Higgins and Justyn Ross the past few years.
Instead of transferring after getting his degree, Overton stayed with Clemson.
“He stayed the course,” Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said. “I’m happy for him.”
Overton had scoring catches of 22, 63 and 34 yards, nearly equaling his career mark coming in. He finished with a career-best 119 yards receiving as part of what Swinney said was Clemson’s most complete game of the season.
“I could’ve transferred, could’ve left, could’ve let my team down,” Overton said. “But I just kept the faith.”
Etienne had scoring runs of 3, 4 and 5 yards as the Tigers (6-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) easily extended their program best streak. They jumped on the Eagles (4-4, 2-3) early and never let up — Clemson had the ball six times in the first 30 minutes and scored each time.
“I think the offense set the tone tonight,” Swinney said. “We wanted the offense to be fast and efficient and that’s what we had tonight.”
Trevor Lawrence completed 16 of 19 passes for 275 yards with three touchdowns.
Etienne, a junior and reigning ACC player of the year, has 46 career rushing touchdowns to move within one of James Davis’ all-time Clemson mark. Etienne also had his 13th 100-yard game, just four away from the school record.
Clemson finished with a season-high 674 yards.
The Tigers defense got into the action, too. It limited the Eagles to 119 yards in the opening half and, after the Tigers were finally forced to punt on their first series of the second half, had a scoop-and-score touchdown from defensive end Logan Rudolph after quarterback Dennis Grossel was sacked.
Boston College had no answers in losing its ninth straight to Clemson, which also had a season-high in points.
Eagles tailback AJ Dillon ended with 76 yards, enough to push him past Andre Williams as the program’s career rushing leader with 3,741 yards in three seasons.
“They played like the No. 1 team in the country,” Boston College coach Steve Addazio said. “They played like the team that went after Alabama in the national championship. That’s what happened out there.”
Boston College: The Eagles were no match for Clemson, but behind Dillon had made strides on the season. They came in off a 45-24 win over North Carolina State and will have several competitive games down the stretch.
Clemson: The Tigers followed up a slow start last week at Louisville by coming out fast against the Eagles. Clemson was up 17-0 in the first 10 minutes kept pouring it on, perhaps as a showcase to the College Football Playoff committee whose first rankings come out in two weeks.
With No. 5 Oklahoma losing earlier Saturday, there’s likely no one to jump the Tigers in the rankings as they look to end a dubious streak — losing one spot in the poll after each of their past three victories.
A LOT OF GAMES
Clemson celebrated the 500th game of offensive line coach Robbie Caldwell, who’s spent 41 seasons at five schools. He was head coach at Vanderbilt for a season in 2010. Clemson had a video tribute to Caldwell with several of his former players wishing him well. Clemson also gained 302 yards rushing, enough to make any O-line coach smile. “That was pretty special to see,” co-offensive coordinator Jeff Scott said.
Boston College played its second straight road game at Syracuse next Saturday.
Clemson steps out of the ACC when it plays Wofford of the FCS next week.