CLEMSON, S.C.—Off to its worst start in 20 years, Boston College couldn't have asked for a better time for a break.
Eagles coach Frank Spaziani said his team needed to get away from football for a bit after falling to No. 8 Clemson 36-14 on Saturday -- and falling to 1-5 for the first time since 1991.
"I think a break in the middle of the season is always ideal," Spaziani said. "It certainly is for this team. We could a break right now physically."
The Eagles (0-3 Atlantic Coast Conference) fell behind 17-0 and couldn't catch up, surrending 500 yards to the high-powered Tigers, who reached 6-0 for the first time in 11 years.
Boston College played without its career leading rusher Montel Harris, the ACC's preseason player of the year who aggravated a knee injury in last week's loss to Wake Forest. Experienced backup Andre Williams was out with a knee injury. That meant problems for the Eagles run game, which managed 3.6 yards a carry against Clemson's defense.
Chase Rettig was 13 of 20 for 129 yards and an interception. He was sacked three times.
Boston College defensive end Max Holloway hopes his team responds the same way as it did the second half last season. Then, the 2-5 Eagles won their last five games to qualify for the postseason. "We could have four wins in our bank right now," Holloway said. "The balls not bouncing our way in all aspects of football. Once we get that, we'll be rolling."
Clemson's wondering how long it will keep rolling after quarterback Tajh Boyd left with a hip injury.
"It's a complete waste of time to speculate," Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said.
Although Swinney acknowledged things might not be as bad as they looked to the crowd of 78,000 who held their breath as Boyd lay on the ground. X-rays taken on Boyd showed now broken bones. The sophomore quarterback will have an MRI done to double check.
Swinney said Boyd was walking around the locker room much better than when he initially left the field.
"We're praying for positive news there," Swinney said.
As is everyone who roots for the Tigers (3-0 ACC). Boyd's been a revelation as a first-year starter, strong and poised with a knack for making the right decisions. He's thrown 15 touchdown passes, including a 3-yarder to Jaron Brown on Saturday, to just two interceptions.
"It doesn't look like it's going to be too serious," Clemson tailback Andre Ellington.
Chandler Catanzaro added five field goals while Ellington rushed for 117 yards and a 36-yard TD in the fourth quarter that sealed things for the Tigers.
If Boyd can't go, Cole Stoudt -- son of former NFL quarterback Cliff Stoudt -- would get the start against the Terps.
Tigers offensive coordinator Chad Morris will keep the gas pedal pressed on his fast-paced offense with Stoudt in there. "Cole's fine. Cole's going to be a great quarterback here," Morris said. "We've got to make sure that we continue to push him."
Stoudt has a few off-target throws, but ended a respectable 6 of 10 for 37 yards. He led the Tigers to a field goal and Ellington's TD when Boston College (0-3) cut the lead to 26-14.
"I know in practice, the team's going to help me get better," Stoudt said. "I'm going to build off them."
Swinney was hopeful that Boyd had nothing more severe than a deep muscle bruise and could start next week. Plenty of Clemson supporters hope that, too.
"He was scrambling out and went and grabbed a hold of his leg and I guess he fell awkwardly," Holloway said. "He kind of yelled when he hit the ground, so I figured he was hurt."
Boston College tried to catch Clemson groggy after Boyd's departure, Chase Rettig's 24-yard pass to Bobby Swigert cutting the lead to 26-14. The Tigers, though, found their footing with Stoudt. Catanzaro added a 47-yard field goal and Ellington broke out for a 36-yard touchdown run on fourth-and-1 to seal the victory.
It was the fifth time in six games Clemson has gained 440 yards. But can the Tigers keep it up if Boyd is out?
After Maryland, the Tigers return home to play North Carolina. An ACC showdown at Georgia Tech comes after that.
Boyd was 16 of 26 for 283 yards. He also had 37 yards rushing.
"They got rocket-shipped out of there at 17-0 really fast," Spaziani said.