Second-ranked Clemson allowed 430 yards passing in its 28-26 win at Texas A&M on Saturday — the most yards it has allowed through the air since its home loss to Florida State in 2013, when Jameis Winston threw for 444 yards.
Despite that, Clemson defensive back K’von Wallace doesn’t lack confidence in the Tigers’ secondary. In fact, he has a message for those who think the secondary is the weak link in Clemson’s defense.
“What I got to say about it is keep trying us,” Wallace said on Monday. “I feel like we have also the best secondary — not only the best defense, the best D-line, best linebackers — I feel like we have the best secondary as well. So, all I can say is just if you feel like we got exposed, just try us.”
Wallace came up with two of the biggest plays in Saturday’s game, including a forced fumble near the goal line that went through the end zone and resulted in a touchback with Clemson up by just eight points in the final minutes. Following an A&M touchdown on its next drive, Wallace grabbed a critical interception on a game-tying two-point conversion attempt that helped seal the Tigers’ victory.
However, the junior safety also let chances for multiple other interceptions slip through his grasp.
Those are plays Wallace intends to make when he has an opportunity to in the future, and he hopes Clemson’s upcoming opponents keep trying to test the secondary moving forward.
“We’re a secondary that’s hungry, who wants the ball in the air, who wants to get those opportunities to make a couple picks like me,” he said. “I left at least three picks out there. Like I said, I love quarterbacks that throw the ball and I don’t want to sit there and just run, run, run all day. If any team feels like they can expose us with the deep ball, I feel like they should go ahead and try it.”
Texas A&M quarterback Kellen Mond completed 23-of-40 passes for 430 yards and three touchdowns while taking advantage of a number of coverage busts by the Tigers that allowed Aggies’ receivers to run wide open.
Overall, Clemson’s defense gave up 25 first downs and 501 yards of offense, including 333 yards passing in the second half. In the fourth quarter alone, the Tigers yielded 206 yards through the air.
Still, Clemson came away with a crucial road victory, and that’s the main thing.
“Mond is a great quarterback,” Wallace said. “He was obviously the best quarterback we’ve seen so far. Him going out there and slinging the ball, throwing for 400 yards — something we didn’t plan on. But he’s a great quarterback. He made a couple plays. I missed a lot of opportunities myself and made him look even better. So, a lot of opportunities left out there. But as long as we came out with the victory, it really doesn’t matter.”
Wallace said he has already watched film from the game twice, and knows the lapses in coverage and other mistakes Clemson made are correctable.
He is looking at the glass half full and believes the Tigers will be a better team going forward because of what happened Saturday.
“It’s nothing that we can’t go back and correct and get better from,” he said. “I’m glad that we had a game like that so we can get better, because for me to think that we have a great defense already and can get better is a scary sight to see.”