After Texas A&M wide receiver Kendrick Rogers caught a deflected pass off safety K’Von Wallace for a touchdown with 46 seconds to play, the Aggies were a two-point conversion away from tying the game with second-ranked Clemson.
However, Clelin Ferrell was not concerned.
“I had no doubt in my mind,” he said on Monday when talking to the media at the Poe Indoor Practice Facility in Clemson.
Ferrell was not worried about the game going into overtime, even though the Aggies rallied from two-touchdowns to pull within two points and had all of the momentum.
“That was just an ‘okay’ factor, you know what I mean,” Ferrell said. “I still had another play to line up. They still have to go for two regardless of the fact. I have confidence in our defense. Regardless of the situation in hand, we can go out there and get the job done and we can win the game.
“There was no doubt in my mind we could get a stop on the next play.”
He was right.
Mond rolled right from the three-yard line and tried to find his intended target in the end zone. It was the same play Clemson ran to beat Alabama in the 2017 College Football Playoff National Championship Game.
Austin Bryant recognized the play and forced Mond to the sideline, while Wallace waited on Mond to take his chance by throwing the ball into coverage. He did and Wallace intercepted the pass to secure the Tigers’ first win at Kyle Field in three tries.
So, why was Ferrell so confident the Tigers were going to win the game? Because that is what Clemson does.
Since 2011, Clemson is 23-4 in games decided by eight points or less.
“I would definitely say experience is a part of it,” Ferrell said. “We have been in these situations before. We have a lot of guys who have played in a lot of different environments and in high end games. I feel like mainly it is just because we treat it like another game.
“We don’t really see it as a College GameDay or 100,000 people. We just see it as us going out there and trying to be our best and trying to play to a standard.”
Kelly Bryant says their preparation and the culture that Dabo Swinney has built at Clemson gives them the belief, no matter the challenge or the situation, they can win the game.
“We just believe we can make plays when we need to,” the senior quarterback said. “We have a lot of guys that have played in a lot of games and if it comes down to a series where we need to make a play on offense, defense and special teams there is just that confidence we have in our preparation that we can do it.”
That confidence worked again on Saturday. Clemson, once again, made enough plays to leave a hostile environment with another victory.
It’s just what Clemson does.
“I think it’s conformation that Coach ( Dabo Swinney) talks about it all the time that we’re built for this,” co-offensive coordinator Tony Elliott said. “When you look at Coach’s record in one-score games, obviously, he has proven that we are built for moments like this. It’s a great challenge and, obviously, at times adversity hurts.
“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.”