3 things to know about Tajh Boyd, Clemson's star quarterback

Tyler Smith

Clemson's signalcaller will be crucial in the Tigers' game against Florida State Saturday night. Here's what you need to know.

1. He's getting better

Boyd, a senior quarterback out of Hampton, Va., is in his third season as a starter at Clemson. His first two seasons established him as one of the ACC's best quarterbacks, and his performance in the Tigers' season-opening win against Georgia -- 18/30, 270 passing yards, 42 rushing yards, five total touchdowns -- put him firmly in the Heisman Trophy race.

Clemson didn't need much from Boyd to dispatch South Carolina State in Week 2, but Boyd struggled through a 26-14 win over NC State, completing just 24/37 for 244 yards (though he did manage to throw three more touchdowns). Since then, though, Boyd has excelled. He threw for 311 yards on just 24 attempts in a 49-point win over Wake Forest, running for an additional 69 yards and a touchdown against the Demon Deacons. Boyd put up a whopping 455 passing yards at Syracuse, completing five touchdown passes. Last week against Boston College, Boyd went 30/44 for 334 yards, accounting for two touchdowns.

2. He was pretty good to begin with

Boyd was considered one of the nation's best quarterbacks entering the season and, so far, he has not disappointed. He is among the national leaders in almost every relevant quarterback statistic. He is now ninth nationally with 15 touchdown passes. He's eighth in pass efficiency rating, 12th in yards per completion and eighth in points responsible for per game. And Boyd has managed to maintain his completion percentage and yards per attempt average from 2012 while cutting back considerably on interceptions.

Boyd has cut down considerably on running the ball this year. Where he routinely ran the ball in 2012 -- Boyd had 15 or more carries in eight games last season -- he is leaving the running to halfback Roderick McDowell in 2013. Clemson is just 64th nationally in rushing yards through six games, but Boyd's 1,783 passing yards have the Tigers among the nation's top 10 passing teams.

3. You know what you're getting

Tajh Boyd is remarkably consistent. He has made 33 starts over the last three seasons. In 19 home starts, he has thrown for 259 yards per game. In 14 road starts, he's marginally better (284 ypg). Boyd has been held below 200 yards passing just four times (two of those four starts were against rival South Carolina; Boyd is winless against the Gamecocks). He has completed less than 50% of his pass attempts just three times (again, twice against South Carolina). In two starts against Florida State, Boyd has thrown for 291 yards per game, in line with his career average. He has also thrown for six touchdowns against the Seminoles with just one interception.

With Boyd under center and receivers Sammy Watkins and Adam Humphries on the outside, the Clemson passing game will be the focus of Florida State's defensive gameplan. But as Boyd has shown in the past, stopping the Tigers is much easier said than done.

Visit Shakin' the Southland for more on Tajh Boyd and the Clemson Tigers.

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