CLEMSON — Tajh Boyd remembers the two coldest games he’s ever played.
The state quarterfinal game of his senior year of high school at Phoebus (Va.) was played at Harbor Park in Norfolk, Va.
“It was a baseball field, so it was more dirt than grass, and the breeze was just flowing. Unbelievably cold,” Boyd said, who was playing with a torn ACL. “One time I got hit, I got up, and I had snot running down my face. So cold, so freezing. Snow was hitting the ground a little bit. It was cold, but not to the point it was unbearable.”
That game was the third week of November. The other memory Boyd has is from a game played on Oct. 1, 2011, thus the shockingly low temperatures in Blacksburg, Va.
No. 13 Clemson knocked off host Virginia Tech, 23-3, on that night, but Boyd completed just 13 of 32 passes.
“It was 40 degrees and it was raining sideways,” Boyd said. “Went out there, I was overthrowing passes. I couldn’t feel my fingers.”
Thursday night could join the pantheon of conditions only a polar bear could love. Gametime temperature at Memorial Stadium when No. 8 Clemson and Georgia Tech kick off is projected at 43 degrees — luckily, no rain or wind currently in the forecast.
“We need to invest in some jackets over here, like (former Eagles quarterback) Donovan (McNabb) used to wear,” Boyd said. “I think that’ll help out.”
Boyd said no matter how cold it gets, he will not wear a glove on his throwing hand.
One man down
Although Swinney said this is about “the healthiest we’ve been all year”, the Tigers will be without third-string running back C.J. Davidson, who suffered a knee injury against Virginia.
Also ruled out are cornerback Mackensie Alexander (groin), defensive tackle Carlos Watkins (car accident) and defensive tackle Kevin Dodd (toe).
Cornerback Garry Peters is looking to return after missing the past three games with a foot injury. Special-teamer Ronald Geohaghan (knee) is also questionable.
Hang in there, Vic
Junior defensive end Vic Beasley is one of four players nationally with 10 sacks on the year, but he will find it difficult to chase down quarterbacks the way he normally does. With Georgia Tech and The Citadel on the docket, there will be far fewer dropbacks and therefore less chances for Beasley (30 tackles, eighth on the Tigers) to pad his stats.
“You’re forcing him to play him in a completely different mode,” defensive coordinator Brent Venables said. “Every down is a run down for four quarters. That’s kind of the mindset you have to have.”
The ACC moved to a seven-game league schedule in 1983, 31 seasons ago, and currently plays eight.
If Clemson defeats Georgia Tech, it will clinch seven conference victories in back-to-back seasons for the first time in school history.