Entering Saturday night's matchup, the Boston College Eagles (3-4, 0-4 ACC) boasted the top-ranked defense in all of college football.
The fact of the matter is, they had yet to face an offense as potent as that of quarterback Deshaun Watson's fifth-ranked Clemson Tigers (6-0, 3-0 ACC).
Watson completed 27 of his 41 pass attempts for 420 yards, three touchdowns, and two interceptions, running for 32 yards and a score as well while leading his undefeated Tigers to a convincing 34-17 victory.
Wide receiver Artavis Scott hauled in 10 passes for 162 yards and a touchdown while wideout Deon Cain garnered two receptions for 97 yards for Clemson, who racked up 532 yards of total offense and 24 first downs while holding possession of the football for 32:07, emasculating a formidable Eagles defense which had suffocated fellow ACC offenses throughout the first half of the season.
In typical fashion, the Boston College offense struggled mightily to sustain any resemblance of consistency, with quarterback Jeff Smith completing just seven of his 22 pass attempts for 87 yards and a touchdown, hitting running back Tyler Rouse for a team-high 39 yards receiving.
Running back Myles Willis was able to muster 88 rushing yards on 15 carries while Marcus Outlow gained 43 yards on just five rushing attempts, however, the Eagles were only able to capture 246 total yards and 11 first downs, going just 3-for-15 on third-downs to put the cherry on top of a dismal offensive showing.
Boston College was able to strike first in the ballgame, however, with an interception of Watson by defensive back Justin Simmons setting up a five-yard touchdown connection between Smith and wideout Bobby Wolford to provide the Eagles with an early 7-0 lead.
Despite the discouraging opening, Watson instantly responded, pioneering a seven-play, 75-yard touchdown drive on Clemson's subsequent possession while capping it off with a game-tying touchdown rush from four yards out.
Following a Boston College punt, the Tigers struck again, driving 66 yards in seven plays to set up a booming 42-yard field goal by kicker Greg Huegel, putting Clemson up 10-7 as the first quarter concluded.
As the Eagles offense toiled, the Tigers wasted no time furthering their advantage, traveling 80 yards on 11 plays on their ensuing possession to set up a 21-yard touchdown strike by Watson to wide receiver Zac Brooks with 7:11 remaining in the first half, giving them a 17-7 lead.
A 21-yarder by Boston College kicker Mike Knoll with two seconds left in the half, following a horrifically managed clock situation by Eagles head coach Steve Addazio, sent the teams to the halftime break with only a touchdown separating them. Preparing to receive the opening kickoff to begin the second half, the Eagles were flushed with momentum, however, the surge was short lived.
After forcing Boston College to punt, the Tigers drove 69 yards on nine plays on their ensuing possession to set up Huegel for a 39-yarder, increasing their lead to 20-10. Following a terrific punt by punter Alex Howell, which pushed Clemson back to their own two-yard line, the Eagles finally appeared to have Watson's troops submerged.
However, a costly pass-interference call on a Watson incompletion on 3rd-and-8 forced Boston College to keep its defense on the field, and Watson capitalized, hitting Scott for a 33-yard gain on first down before connecting with his favorite target yet again on 3rd-and-8 on the next set of downs for a 51-yard score, giving his team a commanding 27-10 advantage with 4:20 left in the third quarter.
Watson was not finished with carving up the Eagles on third down, however. Two possessions later, while facing a 3rd-and-17 from his own 32-yard line, the 20-year old found Cain along the right side of the field just past the first down marker. Cain then turned upfield and marched all the way to the BC one-yard line, setting up a six-yard touchdown connection between Watson and tight end Jordan Leggett to give Clemson a 34-10 lead with 6:38 remaining in the contest.
A nine-play, 68-yard drive, concluding in a one-yard touchdown scamper by Smith with 1:29 to go, brought Boston College to within 34-17, however, by then, the result had been finalized.
With the victory, expect Clemson to retain its spot in the top-five once the rankings are released this coming week.