Although it was not as pretty and clean as No. 2 Clemson would have liked, the Tigers found a way to get the job done at Kyle Field and leave Texas A&M with a victory in front of over 104,000 fans.
After taking a 14-3 lead into the second half, the Clemson defense struggled to contain Texas A&M quarterback Kellen Mond, along with the rest of the Aggies’ offense as they totaled 23 points and 404 yards in the second half.
However, Clemson quarterbacks Kelly Bryant stepped up for the Tigers and stayed poised in the hectic environment. Although Bryant did not execute perfectly in the first half, he led Clemson to back-to-back scoring drives in the third quarter.
Although Clemson is one of the top teams in college football, co-offensive coordinator Tony Elliott knows the Tigers will hit adversity along the way, as they already did so in Saturday’s game. But even in the midst of chaos Clemson stayed composed and got its job done.
“I think it’s conformation that Coach (Swinney) talks about all the time that we’re built for this,” Elliott said Monday. “When you look at Coach’s record in one-score games obviously he has proven that we are built for moments like this.
Bryant finished 12-of-17 passing for 205 yards with a touchdown, as well as 54 rushing yards with another touchdown. Lawrence, who played a total of six drives, completed 5-of-9 passes for 93 yards which included a 64-yard touchdown to Tee Higgins on Lawrence’s first pass attempt of the game.
Since 2011 Clemson is 23-4 in games decided by eight points or less. The Tigers don’t let pressure get to them.
“It’s a great challenge and obviously at times adversity hurts,” he said. “You don’t like it but you know it’s necessary. So this was necessary adversity for us to be able to grow. If we want to be able to grow into a great offense and we want to be a great team we need to take this learning experience and go get better.”
Texas A&M was clearly a learning experience for Clemson but Elliott and the rest of the Tigers will use it as a way to prepare for the next opponent up as the Tigers are back home in Death Valley against Georgia Southern this Saturday.
“I think you need to approach every game as an opportunity to get better,” Elliott said. “We know we have some things we need to clean up and we are going to get better.
“We are going to work our butts off in practice and get ready to play the next game on the schedule- Georgia Southern.”