Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney gave Kelly Bryant that opportunity and so far the junior looks up to the task.
Bryant wasn't spectacular, but a performance of 236 yards through the air and 77 yards on the ground to go along with two total touchdowns, was more than enough to power Clemson to an easy victory over Kent State.
Perhaps what was more important than what Bryant did, was what he didn't do. The signal caller didn't force many throws and was content spreading the ball around to several different receivers, while letting Clemson's tremendous athletes on offense make plays. A total of 15 Tigers players posted at least one reception in the victory.
Bryant didn't try and do too much, which can often lead to mistakes for a young quarterback. He did what he said he would do last month when he was asked how he's going to replace Watson.
"It's about every question, and I answer it to the best of my ability," Bryant told David Hale of ESPN in August. "But I don't try to be Deshaun Watson."
Bryant may not be Watson, but he has a chance to execute the offense like his predecessor. The two possess a similar skill set and although Bryant is very much inexperienced, he's had the benefit of learning the offense behind Watson through two runs to the national title game and one championship.
Filling in for a legendary quarterback is never easy and thinking you can exceed who came before almost always ends in disappointment, so Bryant's toughest challenge all year may be managing his expectations.
One victory over Kent State doesn't constitute a reason for the Tigers to start planning another parade, but this start from Bryant will at least help fans breathe a little easier.
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