But it did when Kyle Parker went down at halftime with a rib injury against South Florida in the Meineke Car Care Bowl.
Boyd was thrust into the position that his sights had been set on since 2009. He completed 13 of 23 passes for 112 yards with two interceptions and a touchdown and nearly led the Tigers to an improbable come from behind victory against the Bulls.
As surprising as it was to grasp, he was the man. The job he waited nearly two full seasons for was his. A redshirt freshman at the time, Boyd had played in six of the previous 12 games, mostly in mop-up duty.
"Coming into last year, I doubted I would play," Boyd said. "Any game I played -- that I was in last year, I had no prior knowledge if I was going into that game or not."
Since that late-December trial by fire, which the Clemson staff avoided for the first 12 games that season, Boyd's grown up.
"Actually becoming the starter and preparing, it just puts everything into a whole new light," he said. "Just prepare the best you can to try to help the team succeed. I'm going to do everything in my nature to make sure that we're successful. I feel like we will be."
The first full year of the Tajh Boyd Era has been a success
Boyd's completed 274 of 453 passes for 3,578 yards with 31 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. He also established single-season school records for passing yards, passing touchdowns and total offense while leading Clemson to a 9-3 record and to an ACC Championship, the school's first since 1991.
Next Wednesday, they'll play West Virginia in the Orange Bowl.
"It's just exciting," Boyd said. "You see all the pageantry, posters here and there, all the people waving. Even the bus – you've got the paw and the ACC Champions.
"That's just something that we continue to build off of, so [I'm] definitely proud of how this team has won."
The education of Tajh Boyd
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