CLEMSON, S.C. — Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd can’t imagine having a better time than he is with the third-ranked Tigers this season.
Boyd thought hard about the NFL last January after setting several school records and putting on a gutsy show in leading Clemson to a 25-24 victory over LSU at the Chick-Fil-A Bowl. Right now, though, Boyd said he wouldn’t trade anything for his senior season, which continues today when the Tigers (5-0, 3-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) face Boston College (3-2, 1-1).
He’s the face of the program and a Heisman Trophy contender with a shot at a national championship.
“This is one of those deals where it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity,” Boyd said. “Even at the next level, being the face of the franchise is not as significant as it is being the face of a college or university program. I am trying to take everything in stride and enjoy it.”
He’s fresh off one of his most dominant performances, throwing for a career-best 455 yards and five touchdowns in Clemson’s 49-14 win at Syracuse.
Boyd acknowledged that he wasn’t returning to reap individual awards. The defending ACC player of the year is focused on victories.
“My main goal is to lead this team and do everything I possibly can for us to win a game,” he said. “If it is to throw it 40 times or run it 40 times, there are no questions asked. But my mentality and the way I was molded is that when you step on the field, you give everything you’ve got.”
Boston College coach Steve Addazio knows he’ll have his hands full trying to contain Boyd.
“I just think he’s a great player,” Addazio said. “He’s got a great arm, great leadership. Just a heck of a football player.”
Clemson offensive coordinator Chad Morris said Boyd’s thrived in the spotlight because he doesn’t let it affect him.
“He’s a guy that’s passionate about what he does, he loves what he does,” Morris said. “He loves the university and has done a great job to this point. We expect him to keep getting better.”
Here at 5 things to watch when Boston College plays No. 3 Clemson on Saturday:
NATION’S LEADING RUSHER: Boston College tailback Andre Williams top the nation with 153.6 yards a game and last week set a personal best with 263 yards and five touchdowns in a win over Army. While Clemson’s defense has improved, it’s most vulnerable against the run. It ranks 12th in the ACC in allowing 171 rushing yards and a game and last week gave up scoring runs of 66 and 28 yards to Syracuse.
SAMMY’S BACK: Clemson junior receiver Sammy Watkins has had an electrifying start to the season with 29 catches for 481 yards and three touchdowns – all of 64 yards or better. Watkins was a freshman All-American in 2011 and helped Clemson to an 8-0 start and its first ACC title in 20 years. After a sophomore season marked by injuries, illness and a two-game suspension, Watkins has returned to his freshman form so far this season.
CLEMSON’S D: The Tigers have been helped this season by an improving defense that’s held opponents to 14 points or less in four straight games, something it had not done since the first four games of the 2000 season. Clemson leads the ACC with 19 sacks while defensive end Vic Beasley is tops in the country in sacks per game.
CHASING CHASE: Boston College quarterback Chase Rettig had himself a game the last time he faced the Tigers. Rettig threw for 341 yards and three touchdowns in a 45-31 loss that Clemson did not have control of until the fourth quarter. Rettig’s completing 64 percent of his throws this season, passing for 891 yards, nine touchdowns and three interceptions.
WHAT TROPHY?: These teams compete for the O’Rourke-McFadden Trophy, which features a replica leather helmet like those worn by former BC quarterback Charley O’Rourke and Clemson back Banks McFadden. O’Rourke was 26-3-2 as Eagles starting quarterback, one of those losses coming to Clemson and McFadden in the 1940 Cotton Bowl. The game’s MVP also gets a leather helmet. Clemson’s Tajh Boyd won last year after throwing for 367 yards.