Coming into Carter-Finley Stadium is never an easy time for highly ranked opposition, especially when one considers the fact that NC State has beaten five ranked teams at home over seven games during the last five seasons. As the number three ranked team in the country Clemson surely knew this when they came in on Thursday, but after watching them beat NC State 26-14 they made it clear that history did not faze them.
Once again Clemson was led by star quarterback Tajh Boyd, who entered the game as a Heisman Trophy Candidate and left as the leader in the race. While Boyd initially struggled on Thursday night he ended up completing 24 of 37 passes and throwing for 244 yards and three touchdowns. Furthermore Boyd did not turn the ball over at all, in the process bringing his touchdown to interception ratio up to 9 to 0 on the season, a remarkable stat. Considering the fact that Clemson loves to stretch the field and throw deep passes this is even more impressive statistic, and indicates just how consistently dominant Boyd has been thus far during the 2013 season.
Other players in the race for the Heisman-read Teddy Bridgewater, Marcus Mariota, and Johnny Manziel-may have better statistics on paper than Boyd at this point in the season, but none has been as consistently effective against the level of competition Boyd has faced. Both Bridgewater and Mariota have put up eye popping numbers against dreadful opponents this season, whereas Boyd and Clemson have had to face number five ranked Georgia and a solid, if unspectacular, NC State team. Meanwhile Manziel has been remarkable, but was somewhat inconsistent during a 49-42 Texas A&M loss to Alabama, as he threw five touchdowns but also two key interceptions.
Considering these faults that can be found in Boyd’s competition for the Heisman Trophy it is impossible not to place him at the head of the race for the Heisman Trophy after another effective performance on Thursday. While some may deem it to be somewhat early in the season to make these judgements, it surely never hurts to get a head start.