CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. -- For the third time this season, Clemson showed it has plenty of weapons besides star receiver Sammy Watkins.
Tajh Boyd passed for three touchdowns and ran for one as No. 17 Clemson bounced back from its first loss of the season by rolling past Boston College 45-31 Saturday at Alumni Stadium.
Boyd completed 28 of 38 passes for 367 yards -- the fourth-best total in school history -- and rushed 11 times for 42 yards for the Tigers, who were playing without Watkins again.
Watkins, who sat out Clemson's first two games while serving a two-game suspension, was sidelined Saturday by an abdominal virus and didn't even make the trip.
But Clemson did just fine without its sophomore game breaker. Junior receiver DeAndre Hopkins more than compensated for Watkins' absence, catching 11 passes for a school-record 197 yards, including a 35-yard touchdown.
Hopkins set Clemson's receptions record in a game with 13 catches in this year's season-opening win against Auburn on Sept. 1.
"He's the most dependable guy we have," Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said.
The Tigers (4-1, 1-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) showed plenty of bite after their 49-37 loss at No. 4 Florida State the week before, shrugging off an early 7-0 deficit by scoring 17 straight points. Boston College (1-3, 0-2) battled back to take a 24-21 lead just before halftime, but the lead would be short-lived as Clemson scored with 23 seconds left in the half and never trailed again.
Clemson, playing its seventh game away from home in its last nine, captured another elusive victory at Boston College. The Tigers improved to 4-4 against Boston College, including 2-2 at Alumni Stadium, since the Eagles joined the ACC in 2005.
"It's just a tough place to come and win, for whatever reason," Swinney said. "I'm proud of our guys for bouncing back, coming off an emotional loss last week. We were ready to play.
"There were definitely some ebbs and flows, as you would expect when you go into somebody else's place. They made some plays, but our guys responded all game long."
The victory came on the shoulders of Boyd, who won the game's MVP award - a 1940 replica leather helmet - after recording the sixth 300-yard passing game of his career and tying Clemson's school record for career touchdown passes. He shares the record with Charlie Whitehurst - currently with the San Diego Chargers - who also had 49 touchdown tosses from 2002 to 2005.
After spotting Boston College a 7-0 lead on a 30-yard run by Andre Williams, Clemson got its first points from kicker Chandler Catanzaro, whose 28-yard field goal was his 16th consecutive successful attempt dating to last season.
But then the Clemson offense got untracked. Boyd scored on a 6-yard run, then connected with tight end Sam Cooper for a 15-yard score and a 17-7 lead.
Boston College quarterback Chase Rettig, who entered the game as the ACC's passing and total offense leader, threw touchdown passes of 3 yards to Johnathan Coleman and 31 yards to Alex Amidon to give the Eagles a 21-17 lead, but Boyd responded with a 4-yard scoring toss to tight end Brandon Ford as Clemson took the lead for good with 23 seconds left in the first half.
Boyd's most impressive play might have come on the Tigers' opening drive of the second half. Faced with a third-and-10 at the Boston College 35, Boyd swept left, lowered his head and plowed through a couple of defenders for a 10-yard gain and a first down. The Tigers scored three plays later on a 16-yard run by Roderick McDowell.
Rettig completed 25 of 43 attempts for 341 yards and three scores. Amidon caught eight passes for 193 yards and two touchdowns.
But Rettig was under duress all day. Clemson's much-maligned defense, which surrendered 667 yards at Florida State last week, had a season-high eight tackles for loss, including three sacks, and intercepted Rettig twice.
"I can't say enough about our defense and the way I saw our defense grow up right before our eyes in the second half," Swinney said. "They got stops and created turnovers and got pressure on the quarterback."
Boston College coach Frank Spaziani said, "I'm disappointed, but not discouraged. We kept on fighting. We did some good things on both sides of the ball, but not enough on defense."
Clemson extended its lead in the third quarter as Andre Ellington followed up McDowell's touchdown run with a 1-yard scoring plunge, pushing the Tigers' advantage to 38-21 with 3:07 left in the quarter. Ellington had 132 yards on 25 carries.
Notes: Hopkins' 197 receiving yards broke the single-game record set by Rod Gardner with 182 yards against North Carolina in 2000. ...Ellington jumped two spots on Clemson's career rushing leaders list Saturday, moving into sixth place ahead of former stars Terry Allen and Woody Dantzler. ...Rashard Hall's interception was the 13th of his Clemson career, tying him for third in school history with 16 career takeaways. ...BC senior linebacker Nick Clancy, who leads the nation with 14.33 tackles per game, had 10 against Clemson.