CLEMSON — Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd isn’t giving up on the season, no matter how bad the ninth-ranked Tigers looked against No. 3 Florida State last week.
Boyd and Clemson coach Dabo Swinney watched every play of the Seminoles 51-14 beatdown, acknowledging everything from glaring breakdowns to the tiniest errors in footwork. When the session was over, Boyd was ready to get himself and the Tigers offense cranked back up for the regular season stretch run, which starts Saturday at Maryland.
“We kind of look at this as the job, and you want to go out there and perform,” Boyd said. “You’ve got to be accountable for your actions out there. Whether it’s studying more or just performing more, you’ve got to make sure you get it done.”
Boyd was atop the college football world — and several Heisman Trophy lists — after the Tigers outlasted Georgia 38-35 to start the season in August.
Since then, it’s been a series of ups and downs for the fifth-year senior, none of which cost Clemson until last week. Boyd threw two interceptions, and his fumble on a sack made for any easy scoop and score by Florida State’s Mario Edwards Jr. for a 17-0 lead in the first quarter.
Boyd finished with 156 yards passing, his second-worst showing since he became Clemson’s fulltime starter before the 2011 season. Most disappointing, Boyd said, was the Tigers not bouncing back after halftime trailing 24-7 and still with a chance to recover. But “things just didn’t go the way we wanted them to and it snowballed from there,” he said.
Clemson’s fast-paced attack has struggled at times.
The Tigers needed second-half rallies to defeat North Carolina State (26-14) and Boston College (24-14), relying on defense more than a consistently strong offense to grab victories.
Clemson offensive coordinator Chad Morris was blunt about the blame, saying right tackle Brandon Thomas was the lone starter playing at a consistently high level.
Boyd shouldered his responsibility for the loss and says it’s up to him and his teammates to turn things around.
“If you look at the game, really actually look at it, we moved the ball” against Boston College on Oct. 12, Boyd said. Against Florida State, “they stopped us, but not as much as we stopped ourselves.”
“We would like to be further along than we are right now,” he said. “But it’s not that far away.”