For fourth time this season, Tajh Boyd is Manning Award weekly winner

Tiger sophomore also selected for national Capital One Performance of the Week

Clemson Tigers quarterback Tajh Boyd throws a pass in the first quarter.

Photo by Nathan Gray

Clemson Tigers quarterback Tajh Boyd throws a pass in the first quarter.

For the fourth time this season, sophomore Tajh Boyd from No. 5 Clemson has been selected as the Manning Award Player of the Week. Boyd earns the honor over seven other Manning Award Stars of the Week in the Allstate Sugar Bowl’s Facebook contest.

Boyd completed 27-of-46 passes for 367 yards and tied the school record with five touchdowns, while also adding a rushing score, to lead Clemson to a 59-38 victory over North Carolina. It’s the fourth 300-yard game for the sophomore signal-caller. The Tar Heels were able to hold tough in the first half, but Boyd and the Tigers proved to be too much to handle as they scored 35 points in the third quarter. Boyd’s 24 passing touchdowns are tied for the most in the nation and are just three off the Clemson single-season record, with at least four games to go. The Tigers remain undefeated at 8-0 and their No. 5 BCS rating is the best in program history.

In addition to the Manning honor, Boyd was selected for the Capital One Performance of the Week award and the ACC Offensive Back of the Week honor for his stellar performance against the Tar Heels.

This Saturday, Clemson will be tested when they take on Georgia Tech in Atlanta as the Tigers hope to continue their quest for an ACC title and a BCS bowl game. The last time Clemson started 8-0, in 2000, the Tigers also beat North Carolina to reach 8-0 before losing to Georgia Tech the following week. The Yellow Jackets had been ranked as high as No. 12 in the nation before a two-game losing skid dropped them from the Top-25.

While the loyal Clemson fans showed their support for their star quarterback once again, there was some close competition this week. With a very strong effort as the clock wound down, Cincinnati’s Zack Collaros came in on the heels of Boyd. Case Keenum of the University of Houston finished third. Collaros threw for two fourth-quarter touchdowns, and then completed the game-winning drive by running in the winning TD with 20 seconds remaining in a 37-34 win, keeping the Bearcats atop the Big East. Keenum gave another strong performance as the Cougars beat Marshall, 63-28. His great performance not only resulted in a victory for the undefeated Cougars, but it made Keenum the all-time NCAA total offense leader.

The Manning Award was created by the Allstate Sugar Bowl in 2004 to honor the college football accomplishments of Archie, Peyton and Eli Manning. It is the only quarterback award that includes the candidates’ bowl performances in its balloting.

The honor will be recognizing its eighth winner this year. USC’s Matt Leinart was the inaugural winner of the award in 2005, followed by Texas’ Vince Young in 2006. Both went on to be top 10 NFL draft picks. In 2007, LSU’s JaMarcus Russell earned the award and was the NFL’s No. 1 draft pick. Boston College’s Matt Ryan claimed the award in 2008 and was drafted No. 3, quickly becoming the starting quarterback for the Atlanta Falcons. In 2009, Florida star Tim Tebow earned the honor – he also went on to be selected in the first round of the NFL Draft. The 2010 winner was Texas signal-caller Colt McCoy, the winningest quarterback in college football history, who was selected by the Cleveland Browns in the draft. Last year saw Auburn’s Cameron Newton earn the award, prior to being selected No. 1 overall in the 2011 NFL Draft by the Carolina Panthers.

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