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The Official Website of the Southeastern Conference
Memorial Stadium (Clemson, SC) - Clemson, SC

No. 12 Texas A&M falls to No. 1 Clemson

14 days ago
Associated Press

CLEMSON, S.C. -- Trevor Lawrence threw a touchdown pass and ran for a score and No. 1 Clemson won its record-tying 17th straight game with a 24-10 victory over No. 12 Texas A&M on Saturday.

The Aggies (1-1) talked of an upset all week and figured to be the sternest test left for the defending national champions. Instead, the Tigers (2-0) methodically made plays, stretched out drives and pressured A&M junior quarterback Kellen Mond.

The decisive victory tied Clemson's best-ever run of success that spanned the 2014 and 2015 seasons. It also left a major question in college football: Who can stop these guys?

"That is definitely not how we think," Clemson co-offensive coordinator Jeff Scott said. "We'll look back at this game in six or seven weeks and go, `Hey, that was a really big-time win early in the year."

The Tigers will be double-digit favorites the rest of the regular season in their try for a fifth straight Atlantic Coast Conference title and College Football Playoff berth.

Texas A&M came in filled with confidence. The Aggies vowed they wouldn't let their near-miss, 28-26 loss to Clemson happen this time. They shrugged off the Death Valley crowd with all their own experience in loud Southeastern Conference venues.

Instead, it was A&M shaking its head about what went wrong as Clemson relentlessly wore down the Aggies with its collection of fast, talented playmakers.

Lawrence said the team remembered how some thought Clemson "lucky" to escape the Aggies. "We wanted to leave no doubt this year," he said. "I think we did that."

It began with Lawrence, who scrambled out of pressure as Justyn Ross broke behind defenders for a way-too-easy, 30-yard TD catch to put Clemson up for good.

Then safety Nolan Turner jarred Mond on what would have been a first-down run to cause a fumble that linebacker James Skalski pounced on to blunt an Aggies' drive.

With the half running out, Clemson receiver Tee Higgins reached behind him to snag Lawrence's throw at the A&M 2. Two plays later, Lawrence had a 1-yard scoring run to send Clemson up 17-3 at the break.

"We're a good team," Texas A&M coach Jimbo Fisher said. "We've just got to play better."

Lawrence went 24 of 35 passing for 268 yards.

Texas A&M's offense and Mond struggled against the rebuilt Tiger D. Gone were the swarming front four led by All-Americans -- and first round NFL draft picks -- Clelin Ferrell and Christian Wilkins. But the new group, led by sophomore defensive end Xavier Thomas, was just as potent. Thomas had a sack and the Tigers held Texas A&M to 92 yards in the opening half.

Mond, who threw for 430 yards against Clemson a season ago, finished with 236 yards passing -- only 115 of those the first three quarters -- with an interception and a fumble. His lone TD pass came with 6 seconds remaining in the game, a 2-yard lob to Jalen Wydermeyer.

Mond said he spoke to players before coach Jimbo Fisher, reminding them there was a long way to go before anything was determined this season. He believes the Aggies will learn and improve. "Sometimes, losses are beneficial," Mond said.

THE TAKEAWAY

Texas A&M: The Aggies need to regroup on both sides of the ball. Texas A&M returns home to face FCS opponent Lamar before starting Southeastern Conference play at home against No. 10 Auburn in two weeks.

Clemson: Welcome to the Heisman Trophy chase, Trevor Lawrence. Clemson's sophomore passer has a so-so outing in the opener against Georgia Tech last week, but look sharp and in control against the Aggies, much more the player he was when the Tigers topped Alabama to win the title last January.

POLL IMPLICATIONS

Count on Clemson holding firm to its No. 1 ranking and Texas A&M taking a fall down the rankings when the new poll comes out.

UP NEXT

Texas A&M: Hosts FCS opponent Lamar next Saturday night.

Clemson: Returns to ACC play at Syracuse on Saturday night.

Team Notes

  • Sophomore Seth Small sailed a 32-yarder through the uprights to cap off a 16-play, 7:33 scoring drive, A&M's longest scoring drive by plays and time in the Jimbo Fisher era (15 games).
  • Today's captains against Clemson were WR Jhamon Ausbon, DB Keldrick Carper, LB Buddy Johnson and OL Colton Prater.
  • Clemson won the toss and deferred.

Individual Notes

  • Freshman TE Jalen Wydermyer and junior transfer DB Elijah Blades made their first career starts.
  • Freshman S Demani Richardson led the Aggies with eight tackles.
  • Sophomore DL Tyree Johnson set new career marks with seven tackles and 2.0 tackles for loss.
  • Senior DB Roney Elam made it back-to-back games with an interception after picking off a pass in the fourth quarter. He had never intercepted a pass prior to his final season.
  • Junior WR Jhamon Ausbon's seven receptions in the game upped his career total to 94.
  • Sophomore RB Jashaun Corbin eclipsed the 1,000 career all-purpose yards mark as he added 34 yards on the day to put him at 1,021 yards in his young career.
  • Wydermyer scored A&M's only touchdown of the game, the first of his career.
  • Senior Braden Mann, who set the record for 60-plus yard punts in a season in 2018, punted the ball 60 yards in the second quarter, marking the 15th time in his career he has boomed a 60-yarder.