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Clemson heads into bye with momentum and skeptics

Associated Press Modified: October 7, 2012 at 2:01 pm •  Published: October 7, 2012

Boyd threw for a career-best 397 yards and two touchdowns Saturday, giving him 51 passing TDs for his career, passing Charlie Whitehurst's Clemson record of 49 scoring passes. DeAndre Hopkins caught seven passes for 173 yards and is ranked fifth in the country at more than 129 yards receiving a game.

Even so, center Dalton Freeman thinks the offense isn't exactly where it should be. Clemson punted just once against Georgia Tech and converted 13 of 19 third downs. But three of them they missed were on third-and-goal, leading to field goals.

"There was a lot left out there," Freeman said "Until we score every drive, we're not going to be satisfied."

And the Tigers get their open date at an opportune time — right at the middle of the season. Freeman said the team has some nicks and small injuries that should heal up before the Virginia Tech game in two weeks. Swinney said his team has earned some time off next week.

"They don't let me have any input on the schedule, but the schedule gods are looking down upon us this year," Swinney said. "Last year, we had about nine games or something before we had an open date. That's a grind."

Boyd, who is taking an athletic leadership class this semester, said the bye week provides its own challenges,

"It's another test for us, "Boyd said. "How do we respond from the bye week. It's a serious question — how do we practice?"

And Swinney knows there is still more work to do as well. He has been impressed with his offense and thinks his defense is getting better, but there is still a lot more to do to reach the goal of finishing the regular season 10-1.

"We're not a great team or a great defense or a great offense yet," Swinney said. "But I think we've got a chance to be."