Boyd steps up with game on the line

by - Staff Writer -

ATLANTA, GA- Tajh BoydTajh Boyd
RS Jr. Quarterback
#10 6-1, 225
Hampton, VA

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knew that adversity would strike his team, but for him it was time to stand up or bow out.

Boyd’s offense lost wide receiver Sammy WatkinsSammy Watkins
So. Wide Receiver
#2 6-1, 205
Fort Myers, FL

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on the second play of the game and right tackle Giff Timothy midway through the second quarter, but he never surrendered to the pressure of the LSU defense.

Boyd completed 36-of-50 passes for 346 yards and two touchdowns while rushing for 22 yards and a touchdown in Clemson’s 25-24 win over LSU in the Chick-fil-A Bowl Monday night in the Georgia Dome.

Boyd said that head coach Dabo SwinneyDabo Swinney
Head Coach
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warned them of the adversity they would face, but he didn’t realize how soon it would actually occur.

“At the beginning of the game and in the locker room, Coach Swinney kept telling us that adversity was going to hit and the game was going to be decided on how we responded to that adversity,” Boyd said. “It happened a little bit earlier than we expected- on the second play of the game, but we responded and continued to play to our standard. We wanted to play with tempo because we felt like it was a crucial part of our game.”

In the face of hardship and the game on the line, Boyd said he knew his team needed him more than ever to be the leader that they have come to know.

“In a situation when the team needs you, you have to step up,” he said. “There are two things you are going to do - you are either going to step up or back down. It’s never been in my nature and it’s never been in the nature of any of these guys on this team [to back down]. Things didn’t go completely the way we wanted to this season, but we had a chance to come out here and show the country what type of team we are, and I was just excited to be out there with my teammates.”

Boyd carried the ball 29 times and was sacked five times, but every time he went to the ground, he popped right back up, never missing a beat.

Offensive coordinator Chad MorrisChad Morris
Offensive Coordinator / QBs
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said that despite the hits, Boyd was in complete control.

“Tonight he looked in complete control,” Morris said. “He looked comfortable. The hits he took, to get back up and make play after play, that says a lot about him. Look at how much he improved from year one to year two in this system. What's he going to do in year three?"

Boyd said that he and his teammates took note of the “disrespect” the national media showed Clemson.

“Watching ESPN when they made the bowl announcements and locks, they kept saying that it was going to be an interesting game, but they weren’t giving us any opportunity to win this game,” Boyd said. “There was all this talk heading into this game about LSU being that much more physical. It hurt our pride and we took it as disrespect in a sense, but it was motivation as well. You see the character of this team and they type of players that we have on this team and it just speaks volumes for the program.”

With a win over one of college football’s bullies on New Year’s Eve, Morris said the standard for 2013 is set even higher.

"We couldn't care less what everybody else thinks about us,” Morris said. “We know what we can do and what we believe in. If we execute our system and play to the standard we set for ourselves, we feel like we can beat anybody in the country. But we knew that we had to come in and prove things to people and prove them wrong. In order for that to happen, Tajh had to play well tonight. And that's something we talked about. He's done about everything in Clemson, broken every ACC record, but hadn't won the big one. And tonight he won the big one, and that says a lot about him. Having him come back next year and really push for that, this team has set a standard to win a national championship. The nucleus is there. The belief is there. We've just got to go and do it.”

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