Texas A&M rolled into Death Valley on Saturday a confident bunch. They would leave with their tails between their legs. After last season’s furious fourth quarter comeback that fell just short, the Aggies thought they now knew how to beat this top ranked Tiger team.
After taking an early 3-0 lead, the 12th ranked Aggies watched Clemson reel of 24 consecutive points. It took Jimbo Fisher taking two timeouts with less than 20 seconds left, trailing 24-3, for A&M to finally find the end zone and make the final margin 24-10.
The Tigers have now won 17 in a row, tying a program record that spanned across the 2014 & 2015 seasons. Here are some quick reactions.
- Brent Venables is the man. That’s not saying anything we didn’t already know, but it bares repeating all the same. Outside of one first quarter drive that was 16 plays long and burned 7:33 off the clock, BV’s defense locked the Aggies down through the first three quarters. Kellen Mond had just 115 yards passing heading into the 4th and held A&M to just 53 yards on the ground. Those nickel and dime looks were a thing of beauty.
- The Tiger secondary came into this one with a chip on its shoulder looking to prove last year’s performance was nothing more than an aberration. AJ Terrell and Derion Kendrick were great in coverage today. Tanner Muse had an interception and was bringing the pain on every hit. Nolan Turner had another good game outside of missing one open field tackle. He laid a jarring hit on Mond to force a fumble on a run that would’ve been a first down. K’von Wallace played well too.
- There’s no group of receivers in the country with better hands than the hands on these receivers. Multiple times in this one Trevor Lawrence was off target only to have one of his wideouts bail him out. Tee Higgins, Justyn Ross, and Amari Rodgers all had unbelievable catches in this one.
- Speaking of wide receivers, how about Amari Rodgers? Just five months removed from ACL surgery he’s back on the field and looking better than ever. He finished with two catches, and the sold out crowd gave him a well deserved ovation after the first one.
- Lyn J Dixon is going to be a force in that Clemson backfield backing up Travis Etienne this season. The Aggies stacked the box when ETN was in the game, and Travis had issues finding lanes to run through for much of the game. That wasn’t the case when Dixon was in there however, as the second year back had 11 carries for 79 yards and a TD. He also caught two balls out of the backfield. He’s really made great strides to improve his game and it’s showing.
- The Texas A&M fan base was out in full force in Tigertown. I don’t recall the last time that many fans from an opposing team not named UofSC showed up in The Valley. The show their band put on at the half was nothing short of phenomenal, and that’s coming from someone that hasn’t spent a ton of time watching marching bands.
- Last but certainly not least, how about that heat. If you were one of the ones watching from home in the comfort of air conditioning, be glad. Be very glad.