By Zach Gilliland
It's New Year's Day 2013. Tajh Boyd and the Clemson Tigers are all smiles because the night before they defeated an elite SEC team: the LSU Tigers.
Boyd was spectacular in that game, driving them down the field on the game's final possession. He would connect with DeAndre Hopkins on a 4th and 16 play that was the biggest play of the year.
Well it was the biggest play of the year, because the play that would
eclipse that one for the top spot came about a minute later when
Chandler Catanzaro connected on a field goal that would down LSU 25-24.
The media fell in love with Clemson after this game and so started Boyd's Heisman campaign.
The glamor for Boyd's Tigers would only grow stronger after he scored five touchdowns in a 38-35 win over top-10 ranked Georgia to start the 2013 season.
The next two big games however, Boyd would probably like to forget.
A top-5 matchup in Death Valley between Clemson and Florida State was anything but pretty for the Tigers. Boyd could not find a rhythm all night and the Tigers would fall 51-14.
Next up in terms of big games was South Carolina. This game was extra important to Clemson, who had lost four in a row to Carolina at the time. Boyd started the game in rhythm, but the Gamecocks would eventually get pressure on him and he would go on to have another bad game, giving South Carolina their fifth straight victory in the series.
In the course of a few months, Tajh Boyd's legacy went from record-breaking quarterback to the guy who couldn't play on the big stage.
He had already proved he could play on the big stage against LSU and Georgia, but those last two games landed him in a category most would not like to be in.
All that can change on January 3rd, when the Tigers will take on the Ohio State Buckeyes.
It will be the last chapter in Boyd's magical career at Clemson, and I have a feeling it will be one he will be glad to remember.
If the fifth-year quarterback doesn't have a chip the size of Alaska on his shoulder right now, then something is wrong.
The media flip-flopped their opinions of Boyd in the matter of months, judging him off of his last two games and not on a body of work. A body of work that I might add is very impressive; school records, ACC records, a conference championship, and a bowl win.
Boyd has one last chance to prove to draft scouts, fans, and the media that he is an elite quarterback who can win big games.
We saw him come up big against a great LSU defense, and we witnessed him pull the Tigers through against Georgia in a nationally-televised game.
It only makes sense that Boyd will have a big night against this Buckeyes defense, which is very weak in the secondary and susceptible to big pass plays.
There is only one question that remains: Can Tajh Boyd change the opinions of the media and draft scouts with a big performance?
One has to think that if he has a big night in the Orange Bowl, his college football legacy will once again will be restored.
We'd love to hear your comments and/or opinions. If you submit them here, other visitors can read them, rate them and comment on them. An e-mail address is not required.