X-Box-like start for Tajh Boyd

CLEMSON - Tajh Boyd's numbers against No. 19 Auburn look more like an X-Box woodshed beat down than a real life stat line.

In the third start of his redshirt sophomore career, Boyd completed 30 of 42 passes for 386 yards and four touchdowns.

Before Saturday, only Charlie Whitehurst had thrown for more yards in a single-game in Clemson history. The Seattle Seahawks quarterback put up 420 against Duke in 2002.

Boyd's performance marked the first-time a Clemson quarterback threw for at least 300 yards since Kyle Parker had 326 against Miami in 2009.

Boyd also compiled the most total offense and passing yards by a Clemson player in the history of Death Valley.

First-year offensive coordinator Chad Morris matter-of-factly summed up his quarterback's record setting performance with the same message he's been preaching since day one.

"Play within your ability, have some fun with it, let's go to work."

Boyd beamed with pride after Saturday's 38-24 win over the defending national champions.

"The line performed great today," he said. "I felt like I was back there drinking some coffee. We definitely did a good job in that sense. We had over 600 yards of total offense."

Clemson also rushed 50 times for 238 yards and a touchdown. Boyd chipped in with 11 carries for 36 yards.

The Tigers also converted on 14 of 18 third-down attempts, which included a streak of 10-straight conversions.

Morris' message for third-down is the same as any other.

"Just play within your ability. If it's there, we take it, and if it's not there, we [won't]. That's what you ask of any quarterback," he said.

Three games into his pairing with Morris, Boyd's confidence continues to grow.

"Like coach [Dabo Swinney] said, this is the schedule of champions we had -- the Sun Belt, the SoCon, the national champs and the ACC next week, so it's something that we've got to keep working with, and we're definitely feeling confident as a group," he said.

Boyd added, "but we're far from finished, and we've got to keep working."

Of course, his resume is far from complete.

It's not the official start to Boyd's 2011 Heisman Trophy campaign, but food for thought. Boyd's numbers are comparable to the last three Heisman Trophy winning quarterbacks, three games into their respective seasons.

Boyd has completed 68 of 101 passes completed for 911 yards with 10 touchdowns and an interception. He's also rushed 31 times for 42 yards and a score.

Three games into 2010, Cam Newton rushed 50 times for 309 yards and two touchdowns and connected on 27 of 47 throws for 325 yards with seven touchdowns and three interceptions.

Two years before Auburn rode Newton to a national title, Sam Bradford completed 64 of 81 passes for 882 yards with 12 touchdowns and two interceptions.

Tim Tebow had 43 carries for 118 yards and five touchdowns on the ground and had connected on 45 of 61 attempts through the air with 835 yards and eight touchdowns a year earlier.

For Boyd, it's a start.

"Hopefully, this propels us in ACC play," he said, referring to Saturday's win. "We've just got to keep working from here."

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