Maybe this season will be different. That’s the talking point coming out of Clemson after the Tigers defeated Georgia 38-35 on Saturday.
And with Tajh Boyd running the show as a senior, fans at the Esso Club have someone they may be able to buck the Clemson trend of raising expectations only to see the Tigers’ hopes and dreams crumble later in the season. Boyd’s been there — the 2010 team that started 8-0 before losing three of the last five, including an embarrassing 70-33 loss to West Virginia in the Orange Bowl.
Clemson’s long-term goals have yet to materialize, but Boyd is the player for right now, earning Athlon Sports National Player of the Week honors.
“This team is a veteran team,” Boyd said. “We have been every situation you could possibly image. We have been down 18. We have been up and lost. We just got absolutely blew out. It's situation like these where you know what type of team you have.”
ATHLON SPORTS WEEK 1 NATIONAL AWARDS
National Player of the Week: Tajh Boyd, QB, Clemson
Boyd was the catalyst for Clemson’s 38-35 victory over Georgia. The senior quarterback took advantage of a rebuilt Bulldogs’ secondary, throwing for 270 yards and three touchdowns on 18 completions. Boyd also added 42 yards and two touchdowns on the ground. With Boyd at the controls, Clemson’s offense is one of the nation’s best. And the senior quarterback should be near the top of the Heisman watchlist after his Week 1 performance.
National Defensive Player of the Week: Collin Ellis, LB, Northwestern
They may have been on tipped passes but when you score two defensive touchdowns, you are the P.O.W. The first came at a critical time late in the third quarter with Northwestern down by four, when Ellis took a Jared Goff pass 59 yards to paydirt to give the Wildcats the lead. Then again, this time up by three with eight minutes to go in the game, Ellis plucked another Cal throw out of the air and went 40 yards for six points to essentially end the game. This was the best win of the weekend for the league.
National Freshman of the Week: Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State
The offseason hype certainly lived up to Winston’s debut. The redshirt freshman was nearly flawless in his debut, completing 25 of 27 passes (and one of the incompletions was debatable) for 356 yards and four touchdowns. Winston also added 25 yards and one score on the ground. The Alabama native was incredibly poised in his first start, and his emergence will make Florida State a factor in the national championship picture.
National Coordinator of the Week: Glenn Spencer, Oklahoma State
The Oklahoma State offense needed time to figure out its personnel and an approach that would work against Mississippi State. Glenn Spencer’s defense, though, did more than just hold serve. Oklahoma State limited Mississippi State to 333 total yards and a field goal, the first time the Cowboys held a major conference opponent to less than a touchdown since 1995. Oklahoma State was at its best in the third quarter when it held Mississippi State to 10 total yards and no first downs. The Cowboys added 10 tackles for a loss after averaging 6.9 per game last season.
WEEK 1 CONFERENCE AWARDS
Offense: Tajh Boyd, Clemson
Defense: Anthony Harris, Virginia
Freshman: Jameis Winston, Florida State
Coordinator: Mike Locksley, Maryland
Offense: J.W. Walsh, Oklahoma State
Defense: Corey Nelson, Oklahoma
Freshman: Baker Mayfield, Texas Tech
Coordinator: Glenn Spencer, Oklahoma State
Offense: Allen Robinson, Penn State
Defense: Collin Ellis, Northwestern
Freshman: Christian Hackenberg, Penn State
Coordinator: Pat Narduzzi, Michigan State
Offense: Marcus Mariota, Oregon
Defense: Dion Bailey, USC
Freshman: Addison Gillam, Colorado
Coordinator: Justin Wilcox, Washington
Offense: Jordan Matthews, Vanderbilt
Defense: Robenson Therezie, Auburn
Freshman: Laquon Treadwell, Ole Miss
Coordinator: Cam Cameron, LSU