Instead, he was poised and mistake-free - just what Virginia Tech needed as it tried to shake off a 48-7 debacle and set its sights on an Atlantic Coast Conference title.
They got started with a 28-7 victory against Ohio on Saturday.
"I know they weren't asking me to be Superman or anything," the freshman said after throwing for 287 yards and running for the touchdown that gave the Hokies the lead with 3:38 left in the third quarter.
His job in his third college game, he said, amounted to, "Just go out there and have fun and run the plays they were calling for me."
That he did it without any glaring errors was impressive.
"We were hoping we'd be able to contain him some and maybe he'd make some freshman mistakes," Ohio coach Frank Solich said. "We had a couple of breaks early, a couple of turnovers, but as the game went on, he settled in and played well.
"He actually played composed, I think, from the start."
Inserted into the lineup in place of Sean Glennon to energize the running game and help mask the deficiencies in the offensive line, Taylor limited his running and completed 18 of 31 passes. His TD came on a 6-yard draw play that made it 14-7.
"He's got tremendous poise," quarterbacks coach Mike O'Cain said. "He's just got a knack. I wish I could say it was coaching, but it's just a natural ability he has."
Taylor's biggest play came on the first play of the go-ahead drive when he picked up Branden Ore's fumble at the Hokies 45, the only one of three Tech didn't lose.
Eight plays later, his touchdown gave Virginia Tech the lead and its defense, maligned after allowing 859 yards in its first two games, remained unrelenting.
The Bobcats (2-1) gained just 114 yards and got their only points on a 26-yard drive set up by Eddie Royal's muffed punt in the first half. Ohio spent most of the second half trying to get out of its own territory and only got as far as midfield.