CLEMSON, S.C. — 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.
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 it 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 (5-2, 1-2 Atlantic Coast Conference).
“We kind of look at this as the job and you want to go out there and perform,” Boyd said this week. “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 (6-1. 4-1) outlasted Georgia 38-35 in August.
Since then, it’s been a series of ups and downs for the fifth year senior. 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. But “things just didn’t go the way we wanted them to and it snowballed from there,” he said.
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.”
Swinney said the team’s offensive experience should give Boyd and his teammates an edge to bounce back quickly.
“We have to go back and retool those guys,” the coach said. “We’ve been doing a lot of calculus, so let’s go back and do some arithmetic,” Swinney said. “This is a hurt football team right now. But we’re going to be OK because they care.”
Boyd believes that, too. He thinks it’s time to narrow the focus.
“Everybody was looking at the big picture instead of just the moment, just the time,” Boyd said. “We’ve got to focus on the day at hand.”