Tigers quarterback Tajh Boyd (10) carries the ball in for a touchdown during the second half. (Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports)
AP Sports Writer
CLEMSON, S.C. (AP) -- Tajh Boyd and No. 3 Clemson needed a fourth-quarter comeback to defeat Boston College 24-14 on Saturday and stay on course for next week's Atlantic Coast Conference showdown with Florida State.
Boyd's 6-yard touchdown run with 13:44 remaining put the Tigers (6-0, 4-0 ACC) ahead for good and defensive end Vic Beasley sealed things with a 13-yard fumble recovery score to outlast the Eagles (3-3, 1-2).
The Tigers were out of synch offensively most of the game and trailed 14-10 entering the final period. That's when Boyd led the 48-yard drive that ended with his 6-yard rush into the end zone for a 17-14 lead.
When Boston College got the ball back, Chase Rettig fumbled when sacked by linebacker Tony Steward and Beasley was there to scoop up the ball and put the Tigers up 24-14.
Boyd also had a touchdown pass and finished with 334 yards passing to become the school's all-time leader in passing yards, surpassing ex-Tiger Charlie Whitehurst.
It's Clemson's second 6-0 start in the past three years.
Sammy Watkins had seven receptions for 101 yards, his fourth game over the century mark this season and 11th in his career. He scored on a 48-yard touchdown grab that gave the Tigers their first lead of the game at 10-7.
But it was Clemson's oft-maligned defense - remember when the Tigers gave up 70 points in the Orange Bowl two years ago? - that turned things around in this one. Eagles tailback Andre Williams, who came in the nation's top rusher, was held to fewer than 3 yards a carry with 70 total. He had gained a career-best 263 a week ago in Boston College's win over Army.
Boston College finished with 286 yards on offense, 162 of those coming on its two TD drives. It's the fifth straight game Clemson held an opponent to 14 points or less.
The Tigers will need all that and more next Saturday night when the rested Seminoles (5-0) arrive at Death Valley after a week off. They'll also need the offense to click as it did its previous two games.
Clemson put its past two opponents in Wake Forest and Syracuse away by halftime, leading 35-7 at the break and cruising to sizeable victories.
The Tigers tried that formula again in this one, reaching the BC 6 before kicker Chandler Catanzaro ended a string of 28 straight field goals inside 48 yards as he missed from 25 yards away.
It was only the start of the Tigers execution problems. Two series later, Zac Brooks fumbled at the end of what would've been a first down and Eagles linebacker Steele Divitto recovered.
After driving 68 yards to the Boston College 28, Watkins airmailed a halfback pass over wide open Adam Humphries. Two plays later, holder Corbin Jenkins couldn't get the snap down and the Tigers again left without points.
Rod McDowell had Clemson's second fumble of the half a series later, then came up shy on fourth-and-6 as Clemson passed up a long field goal try the next time it had the ball.
The Tigers finally broke through on the half's last play, Catanzaro nailing a 35-yard field goal as time ran out to trail the Eagles 7-3 at the break.
Clemson's struggles continued into the second half. The crowd of 77,506 relaxed some when Watkins took in his 48-yard catch along the right sidelines for a touchdown to put Clemson on top 10-7. But BC answered one play later on Rettig's 69-yard TD toss to Alex Amidon.
The nervousness didn't leave for good until after Beasley bounded in with the loose ball for a double-digit lead.