By Gray Gardner.
CLEMSON, S.C. – Clemson struggled to find its second win against FCS opponent Wofford on Saturday.
The Tigers offense was stagnant to start the game for the second week in a row, but found a way to pull away in the second half.
“Right now we’re playing like a second half team. I think we punted one time in the second half,” Boyd said. “We’ve got to make sure we have a complete game. We’ve got to take it from that standpoint and keep working from there.”
Despite the slow start, Boyd showed flashes of greatness in the first half.
He found true freshman Martavis Bryant on a perfectly thrown ball in the first quarter for a 42-yard touchdown. Later in the second quarter, Boyd hooked up with another true freshman in the end zone, this time hitting Sammy Watkins for a 38-yard score.
Boyd finished the half having completed 11 of his 18 pass attempts for 181 yards and 2 scores. Despite Boyd’s stats, his team found itself tied with Wofford at the half.
What isn’t displayed in his stats is the amount of pressure he was under all game long. The sophomore was sacked three times in the first half – two of which happened on consecutive plays to end the Tigers’ hopes for a score before heading to the locker room for halftime.
But Boyd said he wouldn’t point fingers at his line’s pass protection.
“It’s not one particular area that’s lacking right now. We’ve just got to make sure we pull together as a unit and just keep working.”
The first year signal caller said much of his team’s lack of success has been due to its failure to convert on third down – a statistic that can be blamed on the unit as a whole.
“That’s one of the things we’ve got to improve on as well,” Boyd said. “We went 0 for 9 in the first half of last week’s game, and this week it wasn’t the greatest, but it’s definitely coming along.”
The Tigers finished the game just under .500 on third-down conversions, converting on 7 of 15, largely due to Boyd’s success making plays in the second half.
“That comes with a little bit more experience,” Boyd said. “I definitely felt a little more comfortable sitting back there. I felt a little bit more poised.”
Boyd finished the game having completed 18 of his 29 pass attempts for 261 yards and 3 touchdowns. But Boyd proved he’s not just a pocket passer and successfully used his legs to make plays against Wofford.
#10 rushed for 40 yards and a touchdown in Saturday’s game.
“That’s one of the things I didn’t do last week that I should’ve done, could’ve done,” he said. “I’ve to keep grasping it every game and just keep moving from there. If my legs are a weapon in this offense it makes it that much more dimensionally in it.”
Boyd ran hard with his shoulder lowered at times, which is not the position you want your quarterback to be in. Boyd said it’s just his personality.
“It’s the way I play. I’m trying to learn to slide a little more because I definitely can’t take big hits,” he said. “I feel like I can’t slide with my legs yet – I feel like I’m going to tear something, but at the same time you’ve got to just keep working from there.”
Overall, Boyd said Saturday’s win versus Wofford was a “sigh of relief,” but that the coaches were proud of the team as a unit.
“We’ve got young skill guys who are steadily improving each game and each practice and a veteran offensive line, so that makes a combination of things that are truly great.”
Boyd’s Tigers face the Auburn Tigers a week from Saturday in Death Valley – a game that Clemson will have to be better prepared for than they’ve shown in their first two games.
But Boyd doesn’t think his team will have any problems getting ready for next week.
“Auburn’s going to come in here with a chip on their shoulder, and it’s 12 o’clock on ABC, so it’s definitely a little bigger than this. It’s definitely going to be fun.”