Injury won't stop Clemson's Tajh Boyd

Updated: October 9, 2011, 9:04 PM ET
Associated Press

CLEMSON, S.C. -- Clemson's Tajh Boyd finally did something to annoy his coach.

The Tigers' quarterback wasn't wearing a hip pad when he was hit on the left side in No. 8 Clemson's 36-14 victory over Boston College on Saturday.

Boyd went back to the turf after trying to get up, then spent several minutes on the ground as Clemson's coaches, players, staff and fans held their breath over what looked like a serious injury.

Instead, Boyd has a slight hip strain, something that should not keep him out of the Tigers game with Maryland next weekend and something that might've even been less severe if Boyd had on his hip pad for protection.

"I forgot to go and check that everyone had on their hip pads," Swinney said.

Will Boyd ever go without one again? "No," was the long-winded coach's very short answer.

X-rays at Death Valley and a hospital MRI showed no broken bones or significant damage.

In fact, Boyd had more problems with a right thigh bruise, Swinney said, than with his left hip.

That's the latest good break in a season full of them for Boyd and the Tigers (6-0, 3-0 Atlantic Coast Conference), who are off to their best start in 11 years.

If Boyd can't play, it would be up to freshman Cole Stoudt to start against the Terps.

Stoudt, the son of former NFL quarterback Cliff Stoudt, finished up the Boston College game and led the Tigers to a field goal and a touchdown that sealed the game.

Swinney said Sunday he would have confidence in Stoudt to lead the team.

"I'm glad I don't have to worry about that," Swinney said.

Boyd is the ACC's leader in total offense and yards passing. He's got 15 touchdowns with just two interceptions.

He was on his way to another 300-plus yards game when he took the hit by Boston College defensive end Max Holloway.

On Sunday, though, Swinney said it's back to business for Boyd and everyone else on the Tigers.

Tailback Andre Ellington had his first 100-yard game of the season with 117 yards and a clinching 36-yard TD on fourth-and-1 in the final quarter.

Freshman wide receiver Sammy Watkins had seven catches for 152 yards, his third game with 100 or more yards receiving.

Chandler Catanzaro was 5 for 5 on field goals, including a 47-yarder that was a yard shy of his career best.

Stoudt showed he could play with a lead and keep the Tigers out front. He ended 6 of 10 for 37 yards, but without any interceptions.

When Stoudt saw Boyd down, he wasn't sure what happened but felt prepared to take over.

"I just knew I had to step up and do my part," Stoudt said. "The coaches just told me to relax and have fun."

Clemson's defense also built on its effort from a week earlier, Swinney said, when it held Virginia Tech to 258 yards and without a touchdown at home for the first time since 1995.

The Tigers limited the Eagles to the same number, 258 yards, as they did a week earlier. They also got an interception to stop one drive and a fumble by Boston College quarterback Chase Rettig that was part of Clemson's 17-0 start.

"Our kids fought, but we certainly weren't good enough," Eagles coach Frank Spaziani said.

Boston College fell to 1-5, its worst start since 1991. It has a week off before returning to action at Virginia Tech.

Swinney was as concerned as everyone else when he saw Boyd go down. Holloway's helmet and hands were near Boyd's knee as his leg bent awkwardly, leaving a host of possibilities for serious injury.

Instead, Swinney said the way Boyd fell to the ground actually protected his knee and prevented a major challenge to Clemson keeping its perfect record.

The Tigers' next few weeks are filled with big games. Maryland hung in against No. 12 Georgia Tech in Atlanta before losing 21-16.

North Carolina comes to Death Valley on Oct. 22 before a matchup with the Yellow Jackets on Oct. 29.

Wake Forest comes to Clemson on Nov. 12.

"Don't anoint this team just yet," Swinney said. "We've got a lot of ball to play and they've got to continue to stay focused."


Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press

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