Clemson wins at Texas A&M for first time in program history
Texas A&M nearly pulled off the upset, but in the end, second-ranked Clemson survived the Aggies with a 28-26 victory at Kyle Field in College Station, Texas.
K’Von Wallace intercepted Kellen Mond’s pass in the end zone on a two-point attempt and wide receiver Hunter Renfrow recovered the ensuing onside kick to preserve the victory. The win marked the Tigers’ first at Kyle Field in three tries.
Clemson had its chances to put the game away, just like Texas A&M had its opportunity to win it. But in the end, the Tigers made enough plays to get a victory on September 8, 2018.
Wallace perhaps saved the game on the Aggies’ previous possession. After catching a pass from Mond in the flat, wide receiver Quartney Davis broke toward the Clemson goal line and stretched the ball out towards the goal line. That’s when Wallace hit the football, knocking it out of the end zone for a touchback with 2:13 to play.
Clemson could not pick up a first down and punted it over to the Aggies with 1:12 to play. It took Mond just 26 seconds to find the end zone as Kendrick Rogers made a circus catch to pull the Aggies within two points, 28-26, with 46 seconds remaining.
However, Wallace intercepted the two-point try in the end zone to seal the victory.
Mond diced up the Clemson secondary, throwing for 430 yards on 23-of-30 passing, including three touchdown passes. The Aggies had 501 yards overall against the Tigers.
No one knows how Kelly Bryant felt in the moment except Bryant himself. However, he had to be steaming when Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney went with freshman Trevor Lawrence on the Tigers’ first two possessions of the second half Saturday.
Whatever the senior felt, it motivated him when he got his chance again. Bryant led the Tigers on back-to-back scoring drives in the third quarter which proved to be the difference in the game.
After Lawrence failed to pick up a first down on back-to-back possessions, Bryant guided the Tigers on a 4-play, 73-yard scoring drive, keyed by a 50-yard pass to Tee Higgins. He later threw an 8-yard touchdown pass to Diondre Overton, giving Clemson a 21-6 lead with 4:49 to play in the third quarter.
When Clemson got the ball back, following a Mond 9-yard touchdown pass to Kendrick Rodgers, Bryant hit Hunter Renfrow for a 40-yard pass and later hit his senior wide receiver for 10 yards on third down to keep the drive going.
Running back Travis Etienne then ran the ball in from a yard out to give the Tigers a 28-13 lead with 1:01 to play in the third quarter.
Bryant finished the night 12-of-17 for 205 yards, while running for 54 yards.
Mont kept the Aggies in the game. The sophomore made plays with his legs and his arm as he answered Bryant’s scoring drives with a couple of his own. It took him two plays to take A&M 78 yards, capping it with the 9-yard pass to Rogers.
After Clemson made it 28-13, Mond again led the Aggies on a scoring drive, this time a 75-yard drive, which took just six plays to get into the end zone. Mond scrambled and found Davis for a 14-yard touchdown, making the score 28-20 with 14:07 to play in the game.
Lawrence threw a 64-yard touchdown pass to Higgins, while Bryant ran for a score to stake Clemson to a 14-3 halftime lead.
Clemson could have taken command of the game after it moved the football 60 yards to the Aggies’ one-yard line following a blocked field goal by defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence. However, on fourth-and-goal from the one-yard, Bryant fumbled the snap and Texas A&M took over on downs at its own four.
Texas A&M opened the game with an 11-play, 66-yard drive, but came away with nothing when Daniel LaCamera missed a 26-yard field goal to the right. On their second drive, the Aggies drove to the Clemson 23 before being stopped. This time LeCamera made a 40-yard field goal with 4:28 to play in the first quarter for a 3-0 lead.
The Tigers responded on their next possession as Bryant led the them on a 7-play, 75-yard drive, capping it with a one-yard run. Twice on third down-and-long, the senior picked up first downs, first with a 64-yard catch-and-run from Amari Rodgers and then an 18-yard screen pass to running back Travis Etienne.
Lawrence made his first appearance on Clemson’s third drive of the game. On his first play, he threw a deep pass down the sideline to Higgins, who went up and took the ball out of the air, broke a tackle and then outran the secondary for a 64-yard touchdown.
Higgins’ catch-and-run for a touchdown gave the Tigers a 14-3 lead 14:13 to play in the first half.
—video courtesy of the ACC Digital Network
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