CLEMSON, S.C. — Tigers quarterback Tajh Boyd didn’t even have to leave home to know what was ahead in film study this week.
Boyd watched seventh-ranked Clemson’s last-second 31-28 victory with his parents, Tim and Carla, and younger brother T.J., on Sunday morning. He felt his father’s frustration level rise with every bad pass or poor decision.
And things got even worse when his teammates and offensive coordinator Chad Morris reviewed Boyd’s shakiest performance this season.
“I went out to eat with some of the guys last night and they said, ‘You know how many picks you should’ve had?’ ” Boyd recalled.
Imagine the reaction if Clemson had lost.
Boyd threw two interceptions – he’d thrown just five all year coming in – and put the ball in jeopardy much of the opening three quarters against the Demon Deacons.
Yet, Boyd rallied to complete 17 of his final 20 passes, including TD throws to Brandon Ford and Jaron Brown, in Clemson’s rally.
The late effort masked an offense that has struggled to find the explosive nature in the past two games it did in the Tigers (9-1, 6-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) 8-0 start.
Four of Boyd’s seven picks this season have come the past two games against Georgia Tech and Wake Forest.
Both defenses limited Clemson’s running attack and challenged the first-time starter to make plays through the air – something Boyd did just enough in Clemson’s division-clinching victory last Saturday.
Before the final surge, though, came a lot of nervous stomachs as Wake defenders got their hands on several of Boyd’s passes.
“I think there were about eight” potential interceptions, Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said with a smile this week.
Then again, it’s easy to joke when you’re still winning. The Tigers try for a 10th victory when they close the ACC regular season at North Carolina State (5-5, 2-4) on Saturday.
Tight end Dwayne Allen said everyone on offense needs to pick up their play after the past two games.
Clemson scored more than 40 points a game during its perfect start, but only 45 combined against Georgia Tech and Wake Forest.
“I haven’t put my finger on why,” Allen said.