Tajh Boyd continues to lead and learn

In the eyes of LSU, Boyd must’ve seemed like a horror movie monster that simply wouldn’t die

Clemson's Tajh Boyd runs during the second quarter at Memorial Stadium in Clemson, S.C.

Photo by Ken Ruinard

Clemson's Tajh Boyd runs during the second quarter at Memorial Stadium in Clemson, S.C.

Chad Morris is a perfectionist, which is why the Clemson offensive coordinator offered some gentle criticism of quarterback Tajh Boyd’s Saturday performance.

Seems the Tiger signal caller eased off the gas a bit in the second half of Clemson’s 38-35 victory over Georgia at Memorial Stadium.

“Tajh slowed us down a whole bunch,” Morris said on Monday. “Some of his biggest downfalls — he played well no doubt. He played like a veteran — like he’s supposed to play — but as far as the tempo in the third and fourth quarter he was the one slowing us down.”

Dabo Swinney said the same thing on Tuesday morning, stressing that Boyd has to “improve.”

Oh, to have such problems.

The QB might’ve slowed things down, but a night that resulted in five touchdowns and 312 total yards certainly speeded up No. 4 Clemson’s elevation in the polls.

And it didn’t hurt Boyd’s rising stock, either.

The big senior is already the reigning Atlantic Coast Conference Offensive Player of the Year and is the preseason pick to retain the title.

But that might not be the title he’s best suited for.

Coaches always talk about “team, team, team.” So does Boyd — and he means it.

If No. 10 has proved anything during his college career, it’s that he is continuing to learn how to help his team get better and showing uncommon leadership in the process.

The biggest nerd stat to come from Clemson’s season-opening victory is that the Tigers are now the only non-SEC team to beat two Top 10 SEC teams consecutively.

That, of course, means Boyd is the first quarterback to do it — and he’s looked good doing it, too.

In the eyes of LSU, Boyd must’ve seemed like a horror movie monster that simply wouldn’t die during last December’s Chick-fil-A Bowl.

The cold stats show 35-49-0 passing for 339 yards and two touchdowns, but they don’t show how invincible Boyd appeared to be on the game-winning drive that led to a 25-24 victory.

Eight months later he was quarterbacking against another SEC team Clemson wasn’t supposed to beat.

By the time Saturday night gave way to Sunday morning, Boyd was again on the winning side — chased but rarely caught, hit but never hurt.

And it came against a program that was five yards from playing for a national championship in 2012.

Obviously one can’t read too much into a season-opening victory. There are still 11 regular season games to go, plus maybe the ACC Championship Game, and then a bowl game — one that could offer BCS dollars and BCS prestige.

But with one down and perhaps 13 games to go in Boyd’s college career, he is already first in school history in passing touchdowns, first in passing efficiency and first in touchdown responsibility. Already on virtually every QB watch list on the planet, he is now No. 1 on something called the HeismanPundit.com Heisman Straw Poll.

And when he lines up for Saturday’s play date with South Carolina State, he’ll bring 9,130 yards and 94 touchdowns to the party.

Morris hopes he moves a little more quickly against the FCS Bulldogs, and perhaps the senior QB will, in fact, pick up the pace.

If he keeps playing — and leading — like he has in the past two games, though, the issue of tempo will become secondary.

As long as Boyd keeps the Tigers on pace for a championship, that’s all that really matters.

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Comments » 1

rsb8931#286014 writes:

Shame on you Tajh. Why weren't you 30 for 36 for about 325 yards? Why did you stop? You dog you. I feel fortunate you are even able to play after the beating you took last year against LSU. I don't ever recall a QB getting smacked around like you did and finish the game and win the game sort of for us. Well, you were the MVP of the game. You don't have to prove anything to anybody after that LSU game. You got roughed up and still managed to lead us to victory. I bet the coaches forgive you for being such a slew foot Saturday night!!!

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