No. 24 Clemson takes lead in 4th and holds off Boston College 17-13



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BOSTON — Boston College was one dropped pass away from another upset victory.

C.J. Davidson ran 32 yards for touchdown with 9:35 left and No. 24 Clemson stopped Boston College in the final minutes to beat the Eagles 17-13 on Saturday.

The Eagles marched to the Clemson 26 and quarterback Tyler Murphy found reserve running back Tyler Rouse wide-open and streaking for the end zone with just over a minute to play, but he couldn't hold onto the ball near the 4. Three plays later, Murphy fired a pass over the middle that missed diving receiver Shakim Phillips near the goal line on fourth-and-15, ending the Eagles' hopes for their second big home win this season.

BC beat then-No. 9 Southern California 37-31 last month.

Murphy, who averaged 118 yards rushing per game, ran for 55 yards on 13 carries and also completed 8 of 19 passes for 108 yards. The Tigers did a good job of containing him for most of the game until he broke free for a 43-yard scamper, moving the ball to Clemson's 38 with 3 minutes to play. The Eagles then converted a fourth-and-1 before Rouse bobbled the ball while he was a couple of yards ahead defensive back T.J. Green.

"We had some plays we could have made," Murphy said. "We have to find ways to get better and make those plays."

Clemson took over on downs and ran out the clock.

"That quarterback, we had him hemmed up a couple times and he just slipped out," Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said. "He's done that against everybody."

Mike Williams caught eight passes for 128 yards, and the Tigers converted 10 of 21 times on third down; BC did not convert a single third down until late in the fourth quarter.

The Eagles knew they had their chances.

"I mean, they were all over the field," Boston College receiver Josh Bordner said. "There were definitely missed plays all over the field."

Even Swinney agreed.

"It's unfortunate for them, they had a couple of opportunities in the passing game," Swinney said.

Cole Stoudt completed 29 of 45 passes for 285 yards, and the Tigers (5-2, 4-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) won their fourth straight game. Needing a touchdown at the end of the game because of a missed extra point, the Eagles (4-3, 1-2) moved to the Clemson 29 and then converted the fourth-and-1.

The first quarter was scoreless, and the teams traded touchdowns in the second before Ammon Lakip's 23-yard field goal gave the Tigers a 10-7 lead at halftime. It stayed that way until Murphy hit Bordner on a scrambling, cross-field pass from 6 yards out to give Boston College the lead.

Mike Knoll's attempt on the extra point was shanked to the right, leaving the Eagles up 13-10. Stoudt, a senior who inherited the starting job when freshman Deshaun Watson broke a finger, needed less than 90 seconds to lead the Tigers 82 yards, hitting Williams for 32 yards on a third-and-10 and then, three plays later, handing off to Davidson for the winning score.

The teams traded punts and then, on the second play after BC took over at its own 18 with 3:25 left, Murphy broke free for 43 yards to the Clemson 38. Jon Hilliman gained three on fourth-and-1 from the 29, and on the next play Rouse was wide open down the middle and inside the 5 but the ball went off his fingers.

Boston College was hoping to improve to 2-0 against ranked teams and move just one win from bowl eligibility. Instead, the Tigers protected their ranking a week after moving into The Associated Press Top 25.

Wayne Gallman scored his first career touchdown, faking inside before moving outside and running untouched into the end zone from 17 yards out early in the second quarter to give the Tigers a 7-0 lead. BC tied it when Murphy connected with Sherman Alston from 26 yards.

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