BOSTON (AP) -- Clemson's kicks kept winding up in the wrong
Jeff Smith returned one kickoff for a 96-yard touchdown and had
three other long runbacks to help Boston College force overtime on
Saturday, then Jolonn Dunbar blocked an extra point in the second
OT to lead BC to a 34-33 victory over No. 18 Clemson.
"After they scored, I just knew I had to try as hard as I could
to get through there," said Dunbar, who deflected Jad Dean's
point-after attempt. "I knew our offense would score. I wanted to
put an end to it as quickly as possible."
Ryan Ohliger, who missed a 36-yard field goal in the fourth
quarter, kicked a 35-yarder on BC's first possession of overtime.
Clemson went backwards after a first-and-goal from the 3 and
settled for a tying field goal; then, after Dean was blocked on
Clemson's second possession, L.V. Whitworth scored on a 6-yard run
and Ohliger split the uprights for the game-winning PAT.
"I would say special teams hurt us," Clemson coach Tommy
Bowden said. "I don't ever remember a game coming down to an extra
point. [We didn't] cover kicks. I don't think it takes a genius to
figure out how we'd win the game."
It was the second consecutive year BC (2-0, 1-0 Atlantic Coast
Conference) has beaten Clemson (1-1, 0-1) in OT. Last year, the
Eagles took a 10-0 lead in their first-ever ACC road game before
beating the Tigers 16-13 in overtime.
"Losing in overtime two years in a row is tough to swallow,"
said Clemson quarterback Will Proctor, who completed 25 of 40
passes for 343 yards and two touchdowns.
This time, BC came back from 10-0, 17-7 and 24-17 deficits to
set off a celebration in Chestnut Hill. It was the first home
victory over a ranked team for BC coach Tom O'Brien in 10 seasons
at Boston College.
"We don't do anything easy," O'Brien said, noting that bad
ball-handling forced BC inside its own 10 yard-line on its first
two drives. "We were really excited to play this game and I think
it showed. A lot of things went wrong there early."
One of them was an muffed kickoff by Smith that left BC on its
own 8. But he followed that with returns of 45, 39, 96 and 29 yards
to keep the Eagles in the game. His 213 return yards were one shy
of the school record.
"After that happened, I got my head back in the game," Smith
said. "I said, 'I can't let it end like that.' There was a lot of
support from the sidelines. They said, 'Forget it. There's still a
lot you can do."
Matt Ryan, who didn't practice with the first team most of the
week because of an ankle sprain, was 22-for-38 for 212 yards and a
touchdown. BC linebacker Brian Toal left the game with a sore
Clemson was called for offensive pass interference in the second
OT, leaving it with a second-and-26 from the 41. But Proctor hit
Stuckey with back-to-back 20-yard passes to put the ball on the 1.
Davis punched it in on second down. But Dunbar came inside the
tight end to deflect the point after and give the Eagles an
opening; Dean had been 60-for-63 on extra points in his career.
"I wasn't even looking. Jad's a great kicker," cornerback
Duane Coleman said. "Then when I heard the crowd cheering, I
looked at the extra point on the Jumbotron."
Clemson took a 24-17 lead on Davis' 1-yard run with 8:20 left in
regulation thanks to two late hits that extended an 80-yard drive.
Smith set BC up on its own 42 with a 29-yard return.
Ryan brought BC into Clemson territory and hit Kevin Challenger
at the 14 yard-line, but Michael Hamlin took the ball away from him
for what the officials called an interception. The replay review
gave BC the ball back and Ryan hit Tony Gonzalez, who dove inside
On the second quarterback sneak, Ryan made it in and it was tied
24-all with 4:59 left.
BC fell behind 10-0 early but had a chance to take the lead
midway through the second quarter when Andre Callender broke free
for 15 yards to the Clemson 2 yard-line. On the next play, he was
stopped at the line of scrimmage and, when he reached out with the
ball to try to break the plane of the goal line, the ball was
knocked free for a fumble.
Two plays later, Proctor threw a short dump pass to C.J.
Spiller, who broke several tackles on the right side before cutting
across the field and sprinting down the left sideline for an
82-yard touchdown that made it 17-7.