Clemson senior quarterback Tajh Boyd played one of the worst games of his career in the Tigers' 51-14 loss to Florida State on Oct. 19. But he has bounced back with a vengeance, and Thursday night was another example.
Boyd was 20-of-26 passing for 340 yards and four TDs as the Tigers beat Georgia Tech 55-31. Boyd played three quarters before giving way to backup Cole Stoudt. Boyd also ran for 43 yards and a score as Clemson (9-1), eighth in the BCS standings this week, stayed in the hunt for a BCS at-large berth.
It was the eighth time in his career Boyd threw at least four TD passes and the 17th time he passed for at least 300 yards.
Boyd was just 17 of 37 for 156 yards, one TD and two interceptions in the loss to FSU. But in the three games since that setback, Boyd is 72 of 96 (75.0 completion rate) for 1,021 yards and eight TDs. The Tigers have won those three games by a combined 86 points.
Pittsburgh Steelers GM Kevin Colbert was in attendance Thursday and had to like what he saw from Boyd. Boyd was 4 of 7 and sacked twice in the first quarter by Tech defensive end Jeremiah Attaochu. But Boyd caught fire in the second period, completing nine of his 11 attempts for 211 yards and three scores as Clemson built a 27-10 halftime lead.
Boyd now has 98 career TD passes, which sets an ACC record. The old mark of 96 was held by former North Carolina State star Philip Rivers.
Boyd's best throw may have come early in the third quarter, a 33-yarder to junior Martavis Bryant that set up a TD. Yellow Jackets sophomore cornerback D.J. White, picked on frequently by Boyd, was in excellent shape on the coverage, but Boyd dropped in a perfectly placed pass that Bryant snared at the 1.
Thursday night, two of Boyd's TD passes went to junior wide receiver Sammy Watkins, who had five receptions for 104 yards and the two scores. Watkins now has 71 receptions for 1,086 yards and nine touchdowns this season.
The one negative for Boyd on Thursday: He threw an interception, giving him seven for the season. Five have come in the past four games. He had thrown a pick in just one of the first six games. One knock on Boyd throughout his career has been his propensity for interceptions; he has thrown 35 in his career.