Tajh Boyd is ready for the Aaron Murray challenge.
The two celebrated quarterbacks won't bang heads Saturday night: when Clemson's Boyd is on the field, Georgia's Murray will be on the sidelines, and vice-versa.
But that won't make the competition any less intense.
"When you have a guy that is so highly touted and plays at a high level, you want to go out there and perform better than the opposing position,” Boyd said. “That’s one of the things that comes with competing. You want to be the best quarterback that day. You want to be the best quarterback in that game. I think that just comes with the territory.”
Both Boyd and Murray will step on the field Saturday as big-time winners and record-breakers, having followed similar career paths since they were Elite 11 Quarterback Camp teammates back in January of 2009.
Murray came out of Plant High in Tampa, Fla. ranked as the No. 3 quarterback in the nation by Rivals. Boyd, out of Phoebus High in Hampton, Va., was ranked No. 4. Both redshirted as first-year freshmen in 2009.
Murray got a jumpstart on his career when he was named Georgia's starter for the first game of his redshirt freshman season. He's been at the helm ever since. His start against Clemson will be his 42nd straight.
Boyd played in a backup role behind Kyle Parker in 2010, and then was handed the reins to the Clemson offense in 2011 under first-year offensive coordinator Chad Morris. He's started 27 straight games for the Tigers.
During their combined careers, Murray and Boyd have thrown 2,110 passes and completed 1,314, with 168 touchdowns and 60 interceptions. They've combined for 18,144 passing yards - that's 10.31 miles.
Dabo Swinney says Boyd and Murray are two peas in a pod.
"Both are great young men, both are winners, both are great competitors," said Swinney. "Skill-wise, they're similar. They're both about the same size and they both can make big-time throws.
"Aaron made some throws in the Alabama game that were just incredible - a back-shoulder throw from the right has to the far outside of the field, and some other big-time throws.
"But the biggest thing, I think, is that both of them make everybody around them better. They both have that quality. Both have been incredibly consistent, and they've both gotten better and better and better."
Georgia's Mark Richt thinks fans are in for a treat Saturday night.
"If you like quarterback play, I imagine a lot of people will really enjoy this game," Richt said. "You've got two guys that are very accomplished and have played a bunch of games.
"They've won big games, and they've lost some big games, too. They have complete control of their offensive systems and have complete respect for their coaching staff, their team and their fan bases. It should be interesting, and if you're looking for a subplot, that's a pretty good one."
Boyd noted that he got to know Murray when they were in high school, and that he's followed the Georgia quarterback's career ever since.
“We got a chance to do a lot of different things in high school - we got to hang out a little bit,” Boyd said. "He's a really good quarterback and is one of the best college quarterbacks in the game. He throws a really good ball and is really accurate. It is going to be a challenge for our defense.”
Some are expecting a high-scoring free-for-all when the border rivals meet, but Boyd said he's not sure what to expect.
“It's one of those things that when you step on the field, you have to be ready for whatever it is," Boyd said. "We're a team, and our job as an offense is take the ball and score as many points as it takes to win the game.
"You're not going to win every play. It's a pretty long game. But when the plays are there to be made, you have to make them."