Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence led the No. 1 Tigers to their 17th-straight victory with 268 passing yards and three touchdowns as they topped No. 12 Texas A&M 24-10 Saturday in Death Valley.
Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney leads the head-to-head series with A&M head coach Jimbo Fisher 6-4. Before Fisher arrived at A&M, the record was 4-4.
The Aggies struggled to find a rhythm on offense, with eight of their 11 drives ending with 27 yards or less. Three of those drives finished with negative yardage.
A&M quarterback Kellen Mond also found himself in a tough position for most of the game, and was 11-of-23 for 115 yards through the first three quarters.
“I don’t think I played up to par,” Mond told 12thman.com. “I think you can come in overconfident and really excited about the game. Instead of trying to make the plays, you’ve got to let the plays come to you.”
Throughout the game Mond also struggled with cramping in his right calf, prompting freshman backup quarterback Zach Calzada to warm up in the second half. However, Calzada was never put in the game.
Overall, the Aggies were plagued with injuries and cramping throughout the majority of the contest, seeing at least seven players either go down or struggle to play physically. Nine penalties for 85 yards were also factors that slowed A&M’s momentum on either side of the ball.
“In this game of college football or any sport, momentum is huge,” Fisher told 12thman.com. “You keep moving the ball, you have momentum, things happen. [Clemson] had more momentum plays and did a good job.”
After the Aggies scored a field goal to claim the lead early in the second quarter, Clemson answered with a field goal off a fumble from Mond and a touchdown on the next drive. Near the end of the quarter, the Tigers successfully ran a two-minute drill with Lawrence running into the endzone to end the half up 17-3.
The defending national champions continued to roll on both sides of the ball in the second half, scoring another touchdown late in the third quarter to seal the game. Down 24-3, the Aggies would not find their only touchdown of the game until the final seconds when Mond threw a two-yard pass to freshman tight end Jalen Wydermeyer.
Fisher said the deciding factor of the game was not being able to make the plays that mattered.
“I keep saying it, we have a good football team,” Fisher told 12thman.com. “And there’s a way, when you get to a level of winning games of [national championship] caliber, you get used to winning. You have to learn how to hit those critical moments in those critical plays like I said, to keep pressure back on them.”