The Clemson Tigers needed a K’Von Wallace interception on a Texas A&M two-point conversation to sneak out of Kyle Field with a 28-26 victory over the Aggies, Saturday night.
Wallace’s pick provided a sweet ending to a second half that tasted mostly sour for Clemson’s defense, which allowed 501 yards of total offense. A big portion of those yards (199) came in a fourth quarter where A&M scored 13 unanswered points and fell one play short of equalizing.
Clemson’s coaches and players believe they will learn from these mistakes, which they believe is easier to do after a win:
Clemson Defensive Coordinator Brent Venables
Clemson DE Clelin Ferrell
Each of Clemson’s quarterbacks led a touchdown drive before halftime, as Kelly Bryant capped a seven-play, 75 yard drive with a one-yard touchdown run.
The biggest play of that bunch was a 64-yard pass to Amari Rodgers, who caught the ball just short of the sticks on 3rd Down and set the Tigers up in the Red Zone.
On the next offensive drive, Trevor Lawrence turned in a 64-yard pass of his own, as Tee Higgins high-pointed a jump ball and scampered all the way to the end zone to put Clemson up 14-3 at the start of the 2nd Quarter.
Lawrence was inconsistent from that point forward, and Clemson leaned on Bryant’s experience more in the second half as he led back-to-back touchdown drives to put Clemson up 28-13 at the end of three quarters.
Clemson’s quarterback controversy remains unresolved, but both players say they’re satisfied with any arrangement that helps them win:
The game’s biggest swing point came with 2:13 to play as the Aggies looked poised for a touchdown, when Quartney Davis fumbled out of the back of the end zone for a touchback to give the ball back to Clemson.
Replay reviews were not conclusive enough to overturn the call, but the Tigers failed to salt away the clock, giving the Aggies one last chance to send the game to overtime.
Texas A&M QB Kellen Mond, who threw for a career-high 430 yards, completed his third touchdown to Kendrick Rogers with 26 seconds remaining to get the Aggies as close as they would get before the failed two-point pass.
Hunter Renfrow recovered the ensuing onside kick to seal the game for Clemson.
To hear Dabo Swinney’s postgame press conference, click below:
Clemson Head Coach Dabo Swinney
— SportsTalk (@sportstalksc) September 9, 2018
Clemson (2-0) returns home next week for a non-conference matchup with Georgia Southern at 3:30 PM at Memorial Stadium.