CLEMSON -- Nothing was there for Tajh Boyd in the first half Saturday.
In his first career start, the sophomore quarterback completed 6 of 12 passes and threw a costly interception as Clemson trailed Troy by three points at the half.
Boyd looked uncomfortable and jittery. Offensive coordinator Chad Morris said Boyd was trying to do too much, that he was "squeezing the air out the ball," holding the ball too long as he sought big-gain throws rather than safe, short gains.
But it gave Boyd a chance to demonstrate his resiliency, and Morris came away impressed as Boyd responded in a 43-19 win. After a halftime lesson on playing relaxed, and some purposeful short, quick pass plays, Boyd completed 11 of his first 13 passes in the third quarter as Clemson scored two touchdowns.
"I was very impressed with the way Tajh responded in the second half," Morris said. "We just had to settle the guys down because they were trying so hard … Tajh was pressing; I was pressing as a play caller."
Morris said the offense kept things simple Saturday to make life easier on his young quarterback.
"I wanted to keep Tajh not thinking about 'who do I send in motion … timing.' He missed some reads early on because he had to do some thinking," Morris said. "I have to get him in a groove … just loosen him up."
Boyd's final stats: 20 of 30 passing for 264 yards, three touchdowns, one interception.
Clemson struggled on third downs Saturday. The Clemson offense didn't convert a third down until the third quarter, opening 0 for 9 on third down. The Tigers' defense allowed Troy to convert 7 of 18 third downs. Against the Troy spread, Kevin Steele's defense spent nearly the entire game in nickel defense.
Saturday's win was Clemson's first over a Division I team from the state of Alabama since 1951, when the Tigers defeated Auburn, 34-0, at Clemson. Clemson had lost 20 in a row to teams from Alabama. … True freshman Stephone Anthony recorded his first sack Saturday; fellow true freshman linebacker Tony Steward also played. … Swinney said he thought Rashard Hall would be "OK." Hall came out of the game after sustaining a knee injury ... Sammy Watkins' seven catches for 81 yards were the most by a Clemson player in his first game in program history. … PK Chandler Catanzaro made three field goals of 40 yards or longer, joining Mark Buchholz as the only other Clemson player to accomplish the feat. Catanzaro missed an extra point but made all three of his field goal attempts.
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