Clemson Stars Make Heisman Trophy Statement in Week 1

Sean FryeFeatured ColumnistSeptember 1, 2013

Tajh Boyd
Tajh BoydStreeter Lecka/Getty Images

In a huge season-opening matchup against the Georgia Bulldogs, Clemson's Tajh Boyd and Sammy Watkins posted performances that not only carried their team to victory but placed them as clear early leaders in the Heisman Trophy race. 

In the Tigers' thrilling 38-35 win over the Georgia Bulldogs, Boyd and Watkins looked like superstars.

Heisman winners are the guys that make huge plays in the games that matter. And it was Boyd's 77-yard touchdown pass to Watkins that gave Clemson some early momentum against the fifth-ranked team in the country.

Ultimately, it was Boyd's and Watkins' performances that set the tone not only for the game against the Bulldogs, but for the remainder of the season. 

One thing that Boyd also did was outduel senior quarterback Aaron Murray. Both Boyd and Murray are considered elite quarterbacks in the NCAA, but it was Boyd who clearly had the edge in Death Valley.

Meanwhile, some of the other Heisman candidates looked sluggish in Week 1. 

Against Buffalo, Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller struggled with just 178 yards passing, two touchdowns and a pick. South Carolina star defensive end Jadeveon Clowney didn't exactly assert himself against the North Carolina Tarheels either. And the Alabama Crimson Tide's stars on offense—quarterback A.J. McCarron and running back T.J. Yeldon—looked uninspired against Virginia Tech after their defense and special teams gave them a big first-half lead.

On Sunday, Louisville QB Teddy Bridgewater can put his name near the top of the list of Heisman favorites if he puts up big numbers against the Ohio Bobcats. And expect just that to happen as Ohio ranked just 55th in total defense last year.

Ultimately, it's the Clemson superstars that are at the forefront of the Heisman race for now. They'll have to keep their team from experiencing that all-too-familiar upset down the road in order to stay at or near the top, but for now it looks like Boyd and Watkins are setting a different tone for 2013.