Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd nearly suffered a huge setback to his Heisman Trophy campaign on Saturday, but his Tigers ended up pulling off a comeback victory over the Boston College Eagles, 24-14.
Boyd finished with a solid stat line of 30-of-44 passing for 334 yards—along with 33 on the ground—and two total touchdowns.
The way he orchestrated Clemson's comeback will linger with Heisman voters.
The third-ranked team in the nation entered halftime with a 7-3 deficit despite playing at home, not only putting Boyd's Heisman hopes in jeopardy but his team's national title hopes as well.
The redshirt senior entered the locker room with more than 200 yards through the air, but didn't have a lead—or even a team touchdown—to show for it.
Things turned around in the second half when he connected with star wideout Sammy Watkins on a 48-yard score to give Clemson a 10-7 lead, but it was short-lived. Boston College's Chase Rettig answered with a 69-yard touchdown pass 19 seconds later, putting the Tigers on their heels heading into the fourth quarter.
Boyd turned up his game in the final period. He led an eight-play, 48-yard drive that ended with a six-yard scoring scamper from the quarterback.
Just three plays later, the defense made a play when Tony Steward strip-sacked Rettig, which led to a 13-yard touchdown by Vic Beasley. Early in the fourth quarter, all the Tigers had to do was hold on—which they did with relative ease.
Boyd's teammates showed up when he needed them most, and it was just enough to pull out a victory on a day that Clemson undoubtedly wasn't at its best. That's as good an indication of Boyd's leadership as any.
The 23-year-old entered the weekend as one of the top contenders in the Heisman Trophy conversation, and his performance against Boston College won't change that.