When Clemson faced 12th-ranked Texas A&M a year ago in College Station, Texas, it played in front of the largest crowd to ever witness a Clemson football game. The Aggies piled in 104,794 fans at Kyle Field.
“It was an unbelievable environment, and an incredible atmosphere and there is no question that their crowd creates great energy for them,” head coach Dabo Swinney said.
The 12th Man, as the Texas A&M fans are known, gave their team plenty of energy in the second half as it erased a 15-point fourth quarter lead for the Tigers, and were knocking at the door to tie the game with 46 seconds to play. But safety K’Von Wallace put a bow on the, 28-26, victory when he intercepted Kellen Mond’s two-point conversion attempt to tie things up.
On Saturday, the two teams will meet for a sixth time in the series as the Aggies return the favor and visit No. 1 Clemson at Death Valley. Kickoff is set for 3:30 p.m.
“I know this, this is one of the most unique environments in all of college football,” Swinney said. “When this place is rocking, it’s a problem.”
Death Valley is known as one of the loudest stadiums in all of college football. Sitting on the base of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Clemson fans pack the 81,500-seat stadium and make it an intimidating environment for opposing teams.
Swinney blamed Death Valley for the reason why Georgia Tech fumbled on its first punt return opportunity last Thursday night.
“The ball hung up there almost five seconds and you got the whole team down there telling him his hair looks nice and where did he get his nails done and all that stuff. Everybody is down there waiting on this ball to come down and the Valley is on you and the next thing you know, the ball is on the ground,” Swinney said. “It takes a lot of focus when you are on the road to block it out.”
Clemson is 67-7 (.905) at Death Valley under Swinney, including a 35-1 record in the last five-plus seasons.
“This is one of those great environments,” Swinney said. “Our fan base is so passionate and loud. I have never sat in the stands here before, but everybody tells me not many people sit down. That is kind of always here.
“People who come here are like, ‘I guess we are going to have to stand up the whole game. I paid all that money for that seat, but I’m really just standing.’ So, I just think that is a unique place. There is no question, our crowd energizes us at home for sure. Hopefully, they can impact the opponent, too. But man, they energize us. It makes a big difference at home when you have that positive energy.”
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