5 Things to know about Clemson's 55-31 rout of Georgia Tech

Receivers, defense shine as Tigers complete ACC schedule 7-1, 9-1 overall

Football  - Tajh Boyd passes to Sammy Watkins

Photo by Mark Crammer

Football - Tajh Boyd passes to Sammy Watkins

Tajh Boyd intends to savor every last moment of his final season at Clemson.

Boyd led the eighth-ranked Tigers to a 55-31 victory over Georgia Tech on Thursday night, throwing four touchdown passes to move past ex-North Carolina State quarterback Philip Rivers for the most in Atlantic Coast Conference history.

Boyd was grateful for the record and even more pleased he accomplished it under offensive coordinator Chad Morris.

"It's pretty sweet," Boyd said. "It's a special thing. It's special for me, special for the team, special for coach Morris because we've grown so much as people in general and players under his system."

Boyd also ran for a touchdown.

As Boyd's career comes to a close, he's doing all he can to bring the Tigers a special season although he threw a scare into just about everyone at Death Valley as he lay on the turf in pain after injuring his collarbone. But after some X-rays in the locker room, Boyd was his spirited self on the sidelines — and even asked Morris if he could go back in down the stretch just to loosen up.

Of course, Morris said "No." Clemson was already ahead 41-24.

Don't expect Morris to ease up on the reins this week in prepping for FCS opponent Citadel. "I think he's all right," Morris said of Boyd. "We won't do anything different than we normally do in practice. He's not live. He's going to throw it a little bit and run it a little bit."

Boyd's a big reason why the Tigers did not collapse after the demoralizing loss to Florida State nearly a month ago. Boyd was chased around and beaten down in a 51-14 loss to the second-ranked Seminoles, who scored the most points by an opponent in Death Valley's history.

It took some time to get Boyd and the Tigers cranked up again. They started slowly at Maryland a week later before pulling away in the second half for a 40-27 victory. The Tigers built on that the next week, bombarding Virginia 59-10 as Boyd threw for 377 yards and three touchdowns.

Morris says Boyd is his own worst enemy at times, trying too hard to make the perfect play instead of simply enjoying the game.

Boyd acknowledged that, too, and has worked to bring the fun back to his game.

"It was about getting in the zone, feeling good about ourselves, feeling good about the game plan, feeling confident," Boyd said. "That's what we wanted to do."

Five things we learned from Clemson's victory:

BOYD'S PLAY: Tajh Boyd continued his bounce back from the Florida State loss that damaged his reputation nationally and dropped him out of the Heisman Trophy race. Boyd has thrown for 300 yards the past three games, all Clemson's victories, and might've gone for 400 against Georgia Tech if not for hurting his collarbone and coming out as a precaution.

CLEMSON'S GOT RECEIVERS: Sammy Watkins had two touchdowns and his seventh 100-yard receiving game of the season. But he was far from the only standout receiver. Martavis Bryant caught five passes for a career-high 176 yards, including a 76-yard touchdown pass from Boyd after Georgia Tech had cut a 20-point lead to 20-7. Freshman Mike Williams had three grabs for 45 yards, including a pretty 4-yard TD catch.

GEORGIA TECH'S STRUGGLES: The Yellow Jackets have an offense made for perfect for ball control and playing keep away. They don't have one built to dig their way out of big deficits. Georgia Tech didn't have a first down in the opening half and had three three-and-outs as Clemson build a 20-0 lead. While the Jackets had a nearly 9-minute edge in time of possession, they couldn't strike quickly enough or trade jabs with the high-flying Tigers.

"We didn't make very many plays tonight," Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson said. "If we make two or three plays on their deep balls then we have a chance."

DEFENSIVE CLEMSON: The Tigers have struggled to contain Georgia Tech's option game in recent years — the Yellow Jackets came in with a 4-2 edge since 2008 — but defensive ends Corey Crawford and Vic Beasley controlled the line of scrimmage and pressured Tech quarterback Vad Lee all game. Clemson did allow Robert Godhigh to account for 229 yards of offense and two touchdowns. Still, it was a strong showing for a group that was a national joke after allowing 70 points in the Orange Bowl to West Virginia two seasons ago.

CLEMSON'S PATH: Tigers coach Dabo Swinney sounded hollow after Florida State when he said his team would bounce back. Now, Clemson is a victory away from a third straight season with 10 or more wins, something that hasn't happened since it was the ACC's top dog under Danny Ford in the late 1980s. After FCS Citadel next week, Clemson tries to break a four-game losing streak to rival South Carolina with a BCS spot on the line.

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Comments » 10

Bigboots writes:

And...Whiff Timothy strikes again at right offensive tackle.
Doesn't touch his man and allows him to sack Boyd.
This situation continues to fester and makes Caldwell look like a clown.

Bleedsorange writes:

I have to admit I know the exact play you're talking about and you're right. He may has well tackled Boyd himself. He needs work.

JDS87 writes:

Did Jesse Palmer and Co. hack this article by mentioning the W.Va game? Geez...

33dtb writes:

We need an O-Line.
Like FSU and Alabama.
and don't even start with the Tommy B argument about finesse or "the offense we play can't use big heavy linemen"
FSU blew that outta the water.

really tired of hearing EVERY year that the problem is fixed.

TigerFan95 writes:

in response to 33dtb:

We need an O-Line.
Like FSU and Alabama.
and don't even start with the Tommy B argument about finesse or "the offense we play can't use big heavy linemen"
FSU blew that outta the water.

really tired of hearing EVERY year that the problem is fixed.

Youre exactly right but it aint gonna happen. Only TWO O-line signees last year and likely only TWO more this year. You cant build Oline consistency with those numbers.

TigerFan95 writes:

in response to Bigboots:

And...Whiff Timothy strikes again at right offensive tackle.
Doesn't touch his man and allows him to sack Boyd.
This situation continues to fester and makes Caldwell look like a clown.

Ive thought Caldwell was a bad hire from the beginning. Hes a likeable guy but he's never coached at a big-time program.

TigerFan95 writes:

I could care less about the whole ten win season thing. If we lose to SC this season is a failure in my opinion. But im sure the whole back to back 10 win season stat will be the smoke Dabo blows up our rears to make us feel good.

TrevorT writes:

in response to TigerFan95:

I could care less about the whole ten win season thing. If we lose to SC this season is a failure in my opinion. But im sure the whole back to back 10 win season stat will be the smoke Dabo blows up our rears to make us feel good.

I hate the Gamecocks as much as anyone, but this is a ridiculous statement. You seriously feel our season would be a failure if we finished at 11-2 and likely with a top ten ranking, based upon a loss to what will likely be a top 10 S.C. team?
Believe me, I want to beat'em real bad too, but I remember seasons when the Gamecocks were about the only team we could beat, and I have to say I feel much better about our program now than then.
If you don't care about 10 win seasons, you don't really care about Clemson Football, because solid seasons mean a lot more to our program as a whole than one victory a year over S.C.

f8thwlk writes:

We will beat SC this year.

TrevorT writes:

I think so too, but I'm not willing to hang the whole season on it.

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