Despite remarks of how Week 2 would be an “upset” for No. 1 Clemson, the Tigers cruised to a 24-10 victory over No. 12 Texas A&M Saturday afternoon in Death Valley.
Sophomore quarterback Trevor Lawrence led the way, completing 24 of 35 passes for 268 yards and a touchdown along with a rushing touchdown.
Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney was all smiles after the game and proud of how his team competed.
“I’m really proud of everyone who played in today’s win,” Swinney said after the game. “There’s a lot for us to build on. Guys accepted the challenge. It was a heck of a win today. This gives us really great momentum.
“Great teams get better as the season progresses. We’ll have an opportunity to go on the road and improve our team in the ACC Atlantic play next week. I’m excited to see how we respond.”
Next week the Tigers will make the 852 mile trip north to face Syracuse, a team who has been relentless against Clemson the past several years. Although the Orange always present a challenge, Swinney is confident in the offense he has, especially after their dominating performance Saturday.
“Offensively, we left a little bit out there, but I thought that we controlled the game,” Swinney said. “We held the ball effectively. Our offensive line took over. I cannot say enough about those guys.”
Travis (Etienne) had a career-high in receiving yards, and Lyn-J (Dixon) was a spark for us. I’m really proud of them. That’s quite a 1-2 punch. (Tee) Higgins had another big day. (Justyn) Ross had a career high in catches. [Trevor] Lawrence played the quarterback position extremely well today. He was gutsy, tough and showed a lot of great heart and leadership.”
But it wasn’t just the offense who deserved all of the glory. The Clemson defense held the Texas A&M to just 289 total yards, compared to last year’s matchup with the Aggies when the Tigers allowed 501 yards.
The Clemson defense also held Texas A&M to 1.96 yards per carry on 27, the lowest yards-per-carry average allowed by Clemson since holding Boston College to 0.3 yards per carry in 2018.
“We did a tremendous job of being well-positioned, and we made great plays on the ball,” Swinney said. “A.J. (Terrell) was tremendous. Nolan (Turner) missed a tackle in the first half but came back from that and made some great plays on the ball.
“(Tanner) Muse got another interception. Structurally, we did some great things. We did a nice job, assignment-wise. We put pressure on the ball. Our guys up front were ready for the challenge. They’re having fun playing defense.”
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