PHOTO: USA Today Sports
Clemson's Tajh Boyd has had a fantastic career. Boyd has over 11,000 passing yards and 127 touchdowns over his four year career, three of which he's spent as a starter. Despite his success, the most recent memory for Boyd will be his lack of success against in-state rival South Carolina (0-3 as a starter). And the last time he played in the Orange Bowl? His team lost 70-33.
As Boyd looks to move on to the next stage of his career, he wants to end on a high note. There is nothing he can do now to fix the issues he's had against the Gamecocks. What he can do is redeem himself and the Tigers by beating a high profile team in the Orange Bowl against Urban Meyer and the Ohio State Buckeyes.
If you go back to January 4th of 2012, West Virginia and Clemson were trading haymakers deep into the second quarter of the Orange Bowl before two turnovers by Boyd turned the tide of the game. Already leading 28-20, WVU's Geno Smith put his team up by two scores with a seven yard TD run. The ball was in Boyd's court but he was intercepted on the second play of the next drive. WVU turned that into points and then Boyd fumbled on the first play from scrimmage on the subsequent drive. The Tigers went from being down eight points with 4:49 left in the second quarter to trailing at half-time by 29. It was that avalanche of points that led to the WVU blowout and an unforgetable loss for Boyd and the Tigers.
Two years later, the Tigers will return to the scene of the crime. When the Tigers played in the Orange Bowl to close the 2011 season it was a chance for them to return to the National spotlight. The beating they took at the hands of WVU set them back. Now, the Tigers have a chance to regain that spotlight as they attempt to put themselves back into the discussion of being an elite college football program. For Boyd, this is a chance to finish out a great college career with a quality win over a big-name opponent. It's also a chance for Boyd to start some building some momentum as he enters the NFL Draft.
One of the most intriguing storylines to follow this bowl season will be Tajh Boyd and the Clemson Tigers return to the Orange Bowl and their attempt to redeem themselves on a National level.