Boyd, Tigers dealing with adversity

CLEMSON - Tajh Boyd's path hasn't hit rock bottom, but it certainly is trending in that direction.

Hard to believe that's the case for the first-team All-ACC quarterback.

But it is.

In the three games before Saturday's dismal loss to South Carolina, Boyd completed 71 of 117 passes for 876 yards with three touchdowns and six interceptions. He connected on 11 of 29 throws for 83 yards with a touchdown and a pick against the Gamecocks.

Now days before Boyd and the Tigers head to Charlotte, N.C. for the ACC Championship, the redshirt sophomore quarterback is facing another test.

Can he lead in the face of adversity?

"That's where it tests you. It's easy to do things when everything's easy and you're winning games. The true character of a leader is how you respond from it," he said. "It's just how bad you want to bounce up, rather than getting knocked down. I really do feel like that's a sign of leadership and character."

With a 9-3 record in his first season Clemson's starting signal caller, Boyd understands just how important it is to win the ACC title game. A win over Virginia Tech at Bank of America Stadium is a must, maybe even more so when the end to the regular season is taken into consideration.

"There's really no other way, honestly," he said. "We started the season so strong and lapsed a little bit these last few weeks. This is one of our goals. We have to accomplish this."

There's a hitch. Nobody expects Clemson to beat Virginia Tech when they meet for a second time this season.

Even though the Tigers are the only team to hand the Hokies a loss, some believe their decline is too great to ignore.

"That's fine. It really is," Boyd said. "One of the things coach Swinney is big on, he has a little slogan, 'What they say now?' Honestly, it really doesn't even matter.

"If we can do as a team what I know we can do, we'll be fine."

And despite owning the title as the ACC's best quarterback in 2011, it means little to Boyd if he's not piling up wins, like he was during the first eight games this season.

"It's an accomplishment, but that's not what I'm here to do," he said. "I'm here to win games and championships." Top Stories