Clemson’s Boyd, Georgia’s Murray will put their talents on display
By Will Vandervort
ESPN analyst Kirk Herbstreit was once a quarterback himself, so the former Ohio State Buckeye knows a thing or two about the position. That’s why he can’t wait to get to Clemson’s Death Valley Saturday night when No. 5 Georgia takes on eighth-ranked Clemson at 8 p.m.
Herbstreit will call the game along with longtime play-by-play man Brent Musburger for ABC.
Herbstreit is anxious to see the battle between two of the nation’s top quarterbacks in Georgia’s Aaron Murray and Clemson’s Tajh Boyd. Murray is beginning his fourth season as Georgia’s record-setting quarterback, while Boyd is starting his third season at Clemson and he too has set both Atlantic Coast Conference and Clemson records along the way.
“It’s ironic that they are playing one another,” Herbstreit said. “I expect huge things from both of these guys. I think when you watch them one of the things you have to be reminded of is the benefit of having experience and how much that allows them to see the game a lot slower and be able to make better decisions.”
Both Boyd and Murray have been making great decisions since their days in high school. Both were All-American quarterbacks coming out of school and both went to the Elite Eleven Camp the summer prior to their senior years of high school.
Ultimately Murray, a native of Tampa, Fla., chose Georgia and Boyd Clemson. Both have broken just about every single-game record in school history and some career marks, too. But what a lot of people don’t know is that they are friends off field as well.
“We got a chance to do a lot of different things in high school,” Boyd said on Tuesday. “We got to hang out a little bit while we were in school. He is 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.”
Boyd’s not exactly a push over either. The Tigers’ captain is just as accurate and throws a mean ball himself. Boyd can also use his legs, rushing for more than 500 yards a year ago. His performance in the Chick-fil-A Bowl win over LSU was one of the best outings by any quarterback in the country last year.
This isn’t the first time Boyd has competed in the same game with an elite quarterback. Last season he had offensive battles with former Florida State quarterback E.J. Manuel and former NC State quarterback Mike Glennon.
In the Tigers’ 62-48 victory over the Wolfpack, Boyd threw for 426 yards and five touchdowns, while also running for three more. His eight total touchdowns set an ACC record for a single game. Boyd said his performance was motivated by Glennon’s 493 yards and five-touchdown day.
“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.”
So, the 82,000 that will be in attendance Saturday night should expect a high-scoring game, right?
“I’m not sure what to do expect,” Boyd said. “It is one of those things that when you step on the field, you have to be ready for whatever it is. We are a team, but our job as an offense is take the ball and score as many points as it takes to win the game.
“So if we have to score 10 points or 30 or 40 points or whatever it takes to win. We are going to try and do that to the best of our abilities.”