CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. - 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 and rushed 11 times for 42 yards for the Tigers, who were playing without star wide receiver Sammy Watkins for the third time this season. 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.
The Tigers (4-1l, 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 Alumni Stadium. The Tigers improved to 4-4 against Boston College, including 2-2 at Alumni Stadium, since the Eagles joined the ACC in 2005.
The victory came on the shoulders of Boyd, who recorded the sixth 300-yard passing game of his career and tied Clemson's school record for most 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 Tigers' offense got untracked. Boyd scored on a 6-yard run and 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, then 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.
Rettig completed 25 of 43 attempts for 341 yards and three scores while Amidon caught eight passes for 193 yards and two touchdowns.
Clemson extended its lead in the third quarter, getting a 16-yard touchdown run from Roderick McDowell and a 1-yard touchdown run by Andre Ellington, who finished with 132 yards on 25 carries.