Up 41-24 on cross-division rival Georgia Tech, the Tigers appeared to be in cruise control towards win No. 9. Then, they hit a speed bump, a big, old, nasty, scrape-the-under-carriage-of-your-car-type of bump.
With the ball sitting on the Georgia Tech 40-yardline, Tajh Boyd took off on a run. Seven yards later, instead of quickly picking himself up off the ground for peak over to the sideline at Chad Morris, Boyd laid on his back, writhing in pain.
Dabo Swinney hoped for the best.
"Ain't nothing wrong with him, that's what I'm saying. ‘Get up, Tajh.' In my mind I'm going, 'He's Superman, ain't nothing wrong with him,'" Swinney said. "No, I was -- obviously, your breath kind of goes away when you see a great player on the ground, anybody.
"But I knew when I got out there that he was OK. He was kind of catching his breath right there for a second."
Boyd, who'd already thrown for 340 yards and four touchdowns, said the injury "felt and sounded a lot worse than it really was."
He certainly feared the worst.
"It was just a nasty crunch and cracking sound," he said. "It was just a stinger, bruised sternum, bruised collarbone, but throw some ice on it and I'll be just fine."
Team trainers took a peak at Boyd's left collarbone before he jogged off the field. His trip to the locker room for further evaluation was short-lived.
Not long after he exited the locker room, Boyd told his coaches that he was ready to roll, if necessary. By then, the game was well in hand.
"There wasn't no need in it," Morris said.
Clemson went on to score a pair of fourth quarter scores en route to a 55-31 route on Thursday night.
For a moment, the win had a bittersweet feel to it.
"Obviously, you hope for the best, hope nothing's major," Morris said. "Looked at the way he fell on his arm and I thought…hopefully it's nothing major and it wasn't, but that was good to see.
"At that point, you don't do a whole lot of thinking, you just hope and pray real quick then get Cole Stoudt ready, get Chad Kelly ready and get those guys in believing."
Boyd believes he'll be ready for next week's home finale against The Citadel.
"I can't not play in my last game in The Valley," he said. "Maybe I'll throw a pad in here, but I'm going to be practicing on Monday…I'll be just fine."
Waiting to exhale
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