CLEMSON — Tajh Boyd is now halfway through his junior season. When Clemson’s star quarterback plays his last collegiate game, he’ll likely leave behind a set of records which will be difficult to top.
Boyd had an imperfect game in No.15 Clemson’s 47-31 win over Georgia Tech, but still managed to etch his name in the Tigers’ record books again.
His 58-yard touchdown toss to DeAndre Hopkins was the 50th of his career, passing Charlie Whitehurst on Clemson’s all-time list. He added a 35-yard touchdown toss to Hopkins early in the fourth quarter for No.51.
Whitehurst threw 49 from 2002-2005; this is only Boyd’s second season as a starter. His 397 yards passing was the second highest single-game total, behind Whitehurst’s 420 against Duke in 2002. With a career-high 63 yards rushing, Boyd accounted for 460 yards of total offense, also the second-best single-game total in school history behind Woody Dantzler’s 517 against N.C. State in 2001.
Boyd is tied for second with Whitehurst for “touchdown responsibility” (rushing and passing scores combined) behind Dantzler, with 59. He is also third in Clemson’s career passing totals, with 5,905 yards; Dantzler is No.2 with 6,037.
“You can’t say enough – he’s a special player,” Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said. “He’s still a young quarterback for the most part. He’s got half a season left and then next year. He’s on his way to being something special.”
His day wasn’t perfect; Boyd threw an interception right to Tech defensive tackle Shawn Green on a screen pass and had another pass tipped and intercepted. Several of his first-half passes seemed high and off, which he attributed to a timing issue.
“He was a little off early,” Swinney said. “We were trying to settle down and run him a little bit. If he gets knocked around he gets going and makes huge plays. There were layups he missed, that’s like my basketball games. But he’s the ultimate competitor. That’s where he’s grown most as a football player.”
Boyd said his early issues revolved around dealing with Tech’s taller defensive backs.
“It got to the point where the guys were a little taller and I was trying to get on top of the ball too much for our guys to come down with it and the ball was sailing on me,” he said. “Again, I’ve got to keep working on it. Footwork has something to do with those situations. It was a decent day but it could’ve been a lot better.”
13th man: Swinney implored Clemson’s fans to be loud and proud this week, and they made a difference in the fourth quarter. Swinney said Death Valley’s noise was “like having 13 men out there.”
“When ( Spencer Shuey) got that safety, it was unbelievable,” Boyd said. “It was electric. I feel like that’s what we’re supposed to do at home.”
Hopkins hopping: Hopkins’ 173 yards is the fifth-best single game total in program history; he set the record last week with 197 yards at Boston College. He now has eight touchdowns this season and 17 for his career, tying him with Perry Tuttle for third place on CU’s career list. He has had at least 100 yards receiving in four of six games this season and a touchdown catch in five of six.
Injury report: Clemson enters its bye week relatively healthy, although several key players limped off the field Saturday. Senior tight end Brandon Ford suffered a left ankle/foot injury and had his foot in a walking boot afterward. Sophomore defensive tackle DeShawn Williams limped off the field in the second half but returned. Sophomore cornerback Bashaud Breeland left the game with a right ankle injury, hobbling off the field in the second quarter and eventually to the locker room. He returned for the second half. Sophomore linebacker Lateek Townsend did not dress for the game with a thigh bruise, but watched from the sideline in jersey and shorts. He has played mainly on special teams this season.