By Will Vandervort.
By Will Vandervort
Tajh Boyd does not know if he is a Heisman Trophy contender or not. Maybe he got some points from Heisman voters after his performance in No. 8 Clemson’s 38-35 victory over fifth-ranked Georgia. Maybe he didn’t. Who knows?
“Maybe my Twitter followers went up, too,” the Clemson quarterback said. “Who knows? It was fun. I don’t think there is a better university to play for. Me and Coach (Dabo) Swinney were talking before and after the game and we have just seen this program grow so much that you just have to enjoy and love it.”
Clemson fans love Boyd right now. Boyd made a strong case for being an early frontrunner in the Heisman Trophy race with his performance in front of 83, 830 fans in Death Valley and the millions more that were watching all across the country Saturday night.
Boyd completed 18 of 30 passes for 270 yards and three touchdowns, while also rushing for two more scores and 42 yards. He finished the night with 312 total yards.
“He is a third-year veteran quarterback and he played the way you expect a guy like him to play like,” Clemson offensive coordinator Chad Morris said.
Boyd made plays all night with his arm and his legs. When the Tigers need to pick up a first down in short yardage situations, he found a way to get it done. When Clemson needed to make a play, he found wide receiver Sammy Watkins, running back Zac Brooks and tight end Stanton Seckinger for touchdowns or key first down plays.
When he needed to make a run on third-and-goal from the three yard line, he powered his way into the end zone, twice, from four and three yards out.
“I think Tajh Boyd is one of the best (players) in the country. Period,” Morris said. “I think the whole world saw that tonight. I think they saw that this guy stood in there, he made plays with his feet, and he extended plays when things weren’t happening.
“To see him do that, I think that was huge tonight.”
But perhaps the biggest play of the game came late in the game with Clemson trying to milk the clock. Leading 38-28 at the time with a little more than four minutes to play, the Tigers faced third down-and-three from their own 16-yard line.
Morris called for Boyd to keep the ball. When he rolled to his right, two Georgia players gave chase, Boyd was able to out run one player to the edge and when the second would-be-tackler met him, the 6-foot-1, 225-pound senior plowed over him, while churning his legs.
When it was said and done, Boyd gained six yards and the Tigers were able to run another two minutes off the clock. Georgia did not get the ball back until there was only 2:25 left in the game.
“He knew when we broke the huddle that it was his football,” Morris said. “That ball was in his hands and he was not going to take it out. I tried to remind him and he said, ‘Coach, I got this.’ That’s what you like to see in a guy like him.”
And now the question is does America see it?
“First and foremost this win puts us in a situation where we are in the driver’s seat,” Boyd said. “I much rather be in the national championship race than me be a Heisman contender. That’s for the voters and stuff to say.
“It’s an honor to be mentioned with it. Maybe I got some points tonight, who knows?”
By the way, Boyd did get a few more Twitter followers. He now has over 41,000 at the time this story was written.