Posted by Jerry Hinnen
This was already a flatly terrible weekend for Clemson , who were held scoreless for the final three quarters on the road Saturday at Boston College and lost 16-10 . The win snapped a five-game BC losing streak and handed the Eagles their first ACC win of the season; it also snapped a modest two-game streak for the Tigers and dropped them to 2-3 in conference play. With three different teams (N.C. State , Florida State , and Maryland ) all sitting on one loss at the top of the ACC Atlantic, Clemson's hopes of an ACC championship are all but kaput already, and the Clemson natives who'd hoped upset losses like this one left with former coach Tommy Bowden are getting restless .
Today's news, unfortunately for Dabo Swinney , is not going to make yesterday's loss any easier to take :
Andre Ellington has only been Clemson's most consistent, most explosive offensive threat this year, leading the team with 642 yards, 10 rushing touchdowns, and a 6.3 yards-per-carry average that ranks ninth in the country for running backs with more than 100 carries. Quarterback Kyle Parker has never looked shakier than he did against Boston College -- when he averaged a miserable 4.5 yards for each of his 39 attempts and threw a pair of back-breaking interceptions, one a hopeless duck into a crowd of Eagles to ruin a promising fourth-quarter drive -- but Swinner won't have any choice but to lean on him more heavily until Ellington returns.
Jamie Harper (418 rushing yards, 5.23 yards) isn't a bad fallback at tailback, but he hasn't yet been able to reproduce what Ellington has brought to the table. With three of Clemson's final three opponents (N.C. State, Florida State, and South Carolina ) currently ranked, Parker will have to take a major step forward to get his offense moving again, and if doesn't, the 4-4 Tigers could find themselves bowl-ineligible for the first time since 1997.