Monday Notes: Tigers Roll & Remain Unbeaten

6-0 feels damn good.  Going into Saturday, a day on which I celebrated my 26th birthday, I just wanted a win and for the team to survive without any key injuries.  At the end of the fourth quarter I got half my wish.  In the third quarter, when Tajh went down, it appeared from tv anyway, that you could hear a pin drop across Death Valley.   36 hours later it appears that the injury is less serious than originally thought, and thank goodness for that.  According to Dabo in his Sunday teleconference, Tajh was diagnosed as having a thigh bruise and that he is "definitely probable" for Saturday's trip to College Park.  Let's hope this is the case.  While Stoudt played well for the situation he was thrown into, this offense won't be clicking on all cylinders without Tajh at the helm.  Lets hope he's ready to go next week.  

As for Saturday, Clemson continued its unbeaten stretch, beating an injury plagued Boston College team, but providing the Tigers with a win against a program that has always seemed to give us fits.  As I've stated before, in order to get to Charlotte, you have to hold serve at home, and thus far Clemson has proven they can do just that.  They took care of business, and now it's on the next one, a game that I considered a trap game before the season started.

 Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd, who suffered a hip injury in Saturday's win over Boston College, has been upgraded to probable for the Maryland game, the school announced on Sunday.

"Tajh was feeling much better today," coach Dabo Swinney said on his weekly Sunday teleconference. "We really expect him to be back at practice full speed on Tuesday and be ready to play against Maryland." This is a tremendous sigh of relief for Clemson and its fans. Boyd's health is critical to the Tigers' chances of extending their unbeaten streak.

Tajh's health is key. Having him run this show is critical.  He has put up video game numbers thus far and you like your chances as a Clemson fan much more starting him on the road at night rather than a guy that played less than a half of meaningful football in his career.  This is a team that has proven they can win on the road, beating Virginia Tech in a hostile and cold Blackburg, Virginia.  Now they must face a Maryland team that is wounded, with its back against the wall.  Let's hope that this Clemson team is different than the 2009 version that trotted into College Park as big favorites against a 1-3 Maryland team, and leaving with a loss.  This year feels different.  We have got to find a way to avoid the slip up game, and that game is Saturday against the Terps.  

Defensively, the Terrapins (2-3, 1-1 ACC) turned in an inspired effort after struggling through most of the season. A defense that started four freshmen held the Yellow Jackets’ prolific triple-option attack to 386 total yards — 200 less than their average — and 21 points — 30 less than their average.

What it all will mean in a season that has already featured its share of adversity remains to be seen because the end result was a third loss, a quarterback controversy that is not likely to be resolved anytime soon and more significant injuries to a team that has already been decimated by them.

The Terps have more questions than answers at this point in the season.  If Tajh is ready to go, we'll look for Chad Morris to exploit a Maryland defense that Ranks 84th in total defense, yielding more than 400 yards per game. Winning a road game at night is never easy, but if this Clemson offense continues on the track its on, it's going to be hard for the Maryland offense to go punch for punch with this Chad Morris attack.  

Boyd is on pace to break numerous school passing records and was headed toward his third 300-yard game before the injury. Boyd's 15 touchdown passes are the sixth-most in school history for a single season, and the sophomore has thrown just two interceptions.

Clemson offensive coordinator Chad Morris said Boyd was on pace for a career day as he aggressively attacked the Boston College secondary, completing 5 of 7 passes of 20 yards or more to help Clemson to a 23-7 halftime lead. Boyd completed 16 of 26 passes for 283 yards and a touchdown.

In the ACC, and in particular the Atlantic Division, Clemson is the leader of the pack, along with a Wake Forest team that appears to have come out of nowhere.  If Clemson keeps winning, they will be in Charlotte at the end of the year, but who would have thought Wake Forest would potentially be the team standing in the Tigers way?  

On the Google map of the football planet, Wake Forest got a lot larger Saturday. Before the Dixie Classic Fair and the Florida State circus established temporary residence beside Joel Coliseum, Wake Forest was just a mildly interesting dot in a mediocre conference.

They could be a contender bound for a November showdown at Clemson. They're already a comeback-of-the-year candidate, climbing the status ladder from last place (1-7 ACC, 3-9 overall) to the forefront of conversations laced with astonishment.

We're still a long way from a potentially huge showdown with Wake Forest, but if you're a college football fan, it's not exactly how you envisioned the Atlantic unfolding at the top with a young Clemson team and a Wake Forest club that was picked dead last in the division.  Despite this, Clemson must still focus on taking care of business itself. You could argue that Clemson's biggest obstacle at this point could be avoiding self destruction, as the Tigers will likely be favored in all of its remaining games outside of a matchup with the Gamecocks to end the season. 

Clemson’s biggest enemy is itself. Dabo Swinney’s bunch showed great focus by building a quick 20-0 lead on Boston College...

But can they keep that momentum at Maryland, where they threw up one of the more baffling defeats I’ve ever seen a Clemson team suffer two years ago? The Terrapins are beyond mediocre, and Byrd Stadium is one of the ACC’s least intimidating environments.  Clemson has done stranger things over the years.

If Clemson wants to move to 7-0 on the season, this team is going to continue to have to play with the spark they've shown in weeks one through six.  It's Dabo's job to keep this team focused.  He has been able to play a number of different cards thus far, including revenge games against Auburn, Florida State, and Boston College, all teams that beat us last year.  This week Dabo must hammer home that the last time Clemson traveled to College Park, the Tigers were embarrassed, losing to a Maryland team they should have beaten.  Whatever it takes, just get these guys to continue to play quality football and the rest will take care of itself.  

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