To say Texas A&M is a little confident as it heads into Death Valley for Saturday’s clash with No. 1 Clemson is an understatement.
The Aggies, ranked No. 12, feel they will come into Clemson and rightfully take what they believe is theirs … a victory.
“When we get between those lines, it does not matter. They are going to have to deal with us for 60 minutes,” wide receiver Jhamon Ausbon said earlier this week.
A&M players felt like they were the better team when the Tigers went to Kyle Field last year in College Station, Texas and left with a 28-26 victory. Clemson safety K’Von Wallace picked off Kellen Mond’s two-point conversion attempt in the end zone with 46 seconds to play to seal the victory.
Mont threw for 430 yards and 3 touchdowns on the Tigers, including 333 in the fourth quarter as he tried to rally his team from a 15-point deficit. He nearly did it.
No team played Clemson closer all season on its way to winning a second national championship in three years. The Aggies felt like they let last season’s opportunity slip away and they vow not to let that happen this year.
“There will be an upset,” Aggies offensive lineman Jared Hocker said.
Ausbon backed up Hocker’s statement.
“I have never thought about losing a game this season. I can honestly say that is the first time I have ever done that before, truthfully,” he said. “There has been so much work put in and detail and I don’t put us past anybody. We saw last year how we let certain games slip. Those are great teams we are playing, kudos to them, but we are not coming out with a loss in the game.”
Can the Aggies beat Clemson? Of course, they can. However, it might have been better or easier to just keep their beliefs amongst themselves.
If recent history has suggested anything, it is not a good idea to poke the Tigers.
Early in last year’s game against Florida State, some Seminole players were trash talking and taking a few cheap shots here and there. When one tried to knock quarterback Trevor Lawrence out of the game, it sparked the Clemson bench. The Tigers went on to hand FSU its worst home loss in history, 59-10.
In the ACC Championship Game, Pittsburgh players raced over as the Tigers were coming on the field and taunted the Clemson team. It was not a good idea. Travis Etienne broke off a 75-yard run on the first play of the game and the Tigers won 42-10.
In 2017, a few Louisville players suggested to the media they were better than Clemson before the game and the Tigers went to Louisville and crushed the Cardinals, 47-21.
In 2015, Miami players came across their side of the field during warmups and tried to start a fight. Clemson responded by handing the Hurricanes their worst loss in school history, 58-0.
Oklahoma players said the Tigers’ 2014 bowl win was a fluke, they were not prepared and that the result would be different when the two met in the 2016 Orange Bowl. They were wrong. Clemson beat the Sooners, 37-17.
However, of all the games listed above, none of them have taken place at Death Valley. Was it a smart move for A&M players to air out their feelings about beating the Tigers before the game? We are going to find out.
For the record, Clemson is 34-1 at Death Valley since the start of the 2014 season.
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