CUTrevor 2019-09-08 14:38:20

CLEMSON, SC – No.1 Clemson was dominant from beginning to end in Death Valley on Saturday against No.11/12 Texas A&M. The game started much as it did last year, with the Tigers up 17-3 at the half. The Tigers had a 14-3 lead at halftime in College Station last year, but they allowed Kellen Mond and the Aggies to mount a furious rally through the air and nearly tie the game with a 2-point conversion. This time, the Tigers would never take their feet off the Aggies necks. The Tigers had a 24-3 lead until the Aggies scored a touchdown on 4th and 3 with 6 seconds left. I expected there to be more scoring in the game on both sides, but it was a scoreless first quarter with both teams feeling the other out.


Like last year, both teams were able to stop the run. The Tigers rushed for 121 yards and the Aggies for 55 yards. The Tigers’ defense did a much better job than last year against Kellen Mond and the Aggies’ receivers—at least for the first three quarters. Mond had just 51 yards at the half and 115 yards after three quarters. With a 21-point lead at the end of the 4th, the Tigers played zone coverage on defense, and Mond picked it apart. Mond finished with 236 yards, but it was a far cry from the 430 he had against the Tigers last year. He also wasn’t able to run the ball as effectively, netting just one yard on the ground versus 33 last year.


Just like last year, the Aggies jumped out to a 3-0 lead early in the 2nd quarter after Potter missed a 47-yard field goal attempt. Trevor Lawrence answered with a 30-yard touchdown pass to Ross, who had 72 reception yards at the half. Trevor missed on a couple throws, but he was much better than last week, going 24-35 for 268 yards with the TD to Ross through the air. He also ran for his second touchdown in as many games after just one rush TD last season. However, Trevor threw his third INT of the season on an underthrown deep ball that could have been a touchdown.


After putting up video game numbers in the opener, Etienne netted just 53 yards and no touchdowns on 16 carries on Saturday, which was just over his yardage on half the carries in College Station last year. It’s not surprising that the Aggies would play heavy against the run after what Etienne did to Georgia Tech last week. For the first time in his career, Etienne had a bigger impact in the passing game, making 4 catches for 52 yards, both career highs. Etienne had several dropped passes in his first two seasons, and that was the one part of his game on which he’s worked the hardest during the off-season, as Trevor Lawrence told me a couple weeks ago. Sophomore back Lyn-J Dixon had a breakout game, rushing for a team-high 79 yards and a touchdown. It wasn’t a career high for him, but it was an impressive performance against a great rush defense in an enormous game, and it gave Clemson fans a glimpse at the one-two punch he and Etienne will provide this season. Incidentally, Texas A&M had the No.3 rush defense in the nation last season! As I reported could be the case last week, slot receiver Amari Rodgers made his 2019 debut on Saturday. He only had 2 catches for 6 yards, but it was great to see him back weeks ahead of his expected return from the torn ACL in March.


The Clemson defense was superb for the second straight week despite its inexperience on the defensive line. Those guys in the front four are quickly coming of age, and Saturday was a big step forward. Again, A&M had just 3 points until 4th and 3 with 6 seconds left, and they mounted just 144 total yards through three quarters. It was disappointing that the defense was unable to prevent that lone touchdown at the end of the game. All of the starters were on the field with the exception of Mario Goodrich at corner, and the Death Valley crowd was in full throat as if the game was on the line. After a timeout, Venables sold out on a blitz, and Jimbo Fisher released the tight end for a wide-open touchdown, a career first for true freshman Jalen Wydermyer. Venables told us after the game that he anticipated the play and that it was a coverage bust by his defense. The upshot, of course, is that the Tigers would have tied Alabama for the longest streak of wins by 20 points or more at 12 games if not for the touchdown. And the defense always takes a lot of pride in denying the opponent end zone entry, almost like a shutout or no-hitter for a pitcher. Still, it was an outstanding overall performance against a very good offense with a great quarterback, one of the best receiver groups in the nation and one of the best offensive minds in the game in Jimbo Fisher. After missing an open-field tackle on 3rdand 15 that led to the A&M field goal, Nolan Turner had a tremendous game with a forced fumble and a few great plays in coverage. Tanner Muse also came up with his second interception in as many games, and the Tigers won the turnover margin for the fifth straight game going back to last season, the longest streak since 2013.


The Defending Champs have cleared their biggest hurdle of the regular season schedule with their 17th straight win, tying the school record. They will have to travel next week to Syracuse, which suffered an embarrassing blowout loss at Maryland on Saturday. It will be Cuse’s first home game of the season, and the Tigers will get an angry team looking to rebound.



  • One year after Clemson’s top-ranked scoring defense allowed 501 yards at Texas A&M, Clemson held Texas A&M to 289 total yards on Saturday. It included holding quarterback Kellen Mond to 236 passing yards (97 through three quarters) after Mond accounted for 430 yards in the teams’ meeting in 2018.
  • Clemson held Texas A&M to 2.0 yards per carry on 27 carries, the lowest yards-per-carry average allowed by Clemson since holding Boston College to 0.3 yards per carry on Nov. 10, 2018. It’s the 18th time since 2014 that Clemson has held an opponent to 2.0 or fewer yards per carry, second-most in the country. Clemson is 17-1 in those contests.
  • Texas A&M scored its lone touchdown with six seconds remaining. Clemson was six seconds away from holding its opponent out of the end zone for the fourth time in its last 17 games, dating to the start of the 2018 season.
  • Clemson finished plus-one in the turnover margin and has been positive in the turnover margin in five straight games, dating back to last season, for the first time since the first five games of the 2013 season. 
  • The 14-point win snapped Clemson’s streak of consecutive victories by 20 or more points at 11, one shy of 2018 Alabama for the longest such streak by any team in the AP Poll era (since 1936).
  • Quarterback Trevor Lawrence completed 24-of-35 passes for 268 yards with a touchdown. He also rushed four times for 11 yards with a rushing touchdown.
  • Running back Travis Etienne rushed 16 times for 53 yardsHe also posted career highs with four receptions for 52 receiving yards.
  • Etienne recorded a career-long 27-yard reception in the second quarter, surpassing his previous long of 24 against NC State in 2018.
  • Running back Lyn-J Dixon led Clemson with 79 rushing yards on 11 carriesDixon led Clemson in rushing yards for the first time since doing so in his collegiate debut against Furman in 2018.
  • Wide receiver Justyn Ross caught a career-high seven passes for a team-high 94 yards and a touchdown. His career high in receptions entering the day was six, set in both College Football Playoff games last season.
  • Ross recorded his first touchdown reception of the season on a 30-yard pass from Lawrence on third-and-11 in the second quarter. The touchdown reception was the 10th of Ross’ career.
  • The touchdown pass to Ross was Lawrence’s 32nd career touchdown pass, tying him with Kyle Parker (32 from 2009-10) for seventh in school history.
  • Lawrence rushed for a one-yard touchdown in the second quarter, giving him a rushing touchdown in back-to-back games for the first time in his career.
  • Running back Lyn-J Dixon recorded his second rushing touchdown of the season on a four-yard rush in the third quarter.
  • Dixon has now recorded a rushing touchdown in back-to-back games for the second time in his career. He previously accomplished the feat against Wake Forest and NC State in 2018.
  • Safety Nolan Turner recorded the first forced fumble of his career in the second quarter. It was recovered by linebacker James Skalski, his first career fumble recovery.
  • The takeaway by Skalski gave Clemson at least one takeaway in each of Clemson’s last six games, dating to last season.
  • Cornerback A.J. Terrell and defensive end Xavier Thomas split a second quarter sack. The half-sack was the first of Terrell’s career.
  • Safety K’Von Wallace recorded his first career sack, dropping Mond for a 10-yard loss in the third quarter.
  • Safety Tanner Muse recorded his second interception of the season and his second in as many weeks. It marks the first time in his career he’s recorded an interception in back-to-back games. His two interceptions this season tie his single-season career high, set in 2018.
  • Muse becomes the first Clemson player to record an interception in each of the first two games of a season since DeAndre McDaniel, now a defensive analyst for Clemson, in 2009.
  • Clemson’s first play from scrimmage was a pass reception by tight end J.C. Chalk. Chalk is the grandson of College Football Hall of Famer Gene Stallings, who coached at Texas A&M from 1965-71. Clemson Head Coach Dabo Swinney played and coached under Stallings at Alabama.
  • Wide receiver Amari Rodgers made his season debut in the first quarter, 166 days after suffering an ACL injury during spring practice on March 25.
  • Texas A&M scored the first points of the game on a 32-yard field goal in the second quarter. It was the culmination of a 16-play drive, the longest allowed by Clemson since a 16-play drive by Louisville on Nov. 3, 2018, a drive that also resulted in Clemson holding its opponent to a field goal.
  • The Tigers held Texas A&M to under 100 total yards in the first half (92), marking the first time in the last 20 games the Aggies have failed to gain at least 100 yards in the opening half. The last time the Aggies were held under 100 total yards was Oct. 28, 2017 against Mississippi State (33) in a 35-14 loss. 
  • At 94 degrees, the temperature at kickoff was the third-hottest in Clemson history and the second hottest at Death Valley, trailing only a 95-degree game against Troy on Sept. 3, 2011. Two of the three hottest games in Clemson history have been against Texas A&M, including a 95-degree game at Kyle Field on Sept. 18, 2004. (Note: The temperature was 96 degrees at the start of the ABC broadcast prior to kickoff.)
  • The game was the sixth all-time meeting between Clemson and Texas A&M.
  • Captains for the contest were offensive lineman Gage Cervenka, safety Tanner Muse, linebacker Isaiah Simmons and guard John Simpson.




  • Clemson won its 17th consecutive game, dating to the start of the 2018 season, tying Clemson's all-time longest winning streak by matching a 17-game streak across the final three games of the 2014 season and the first 14 games in 2015.
  • Clemson won its 17th consecutive game at Memorial Stadium, dating back to a 56-7 win against South Carolina on Nov. 25, 2016. The 17-game streak is the second-longest home winning streak in Clemson history, trailing only a 21-game Memorial Stadium winning streak from 2013-16.
  • Clemson has now won 38 of its last 39 games at home.
  • The 2018-19 Tigers’ 17 consecutive wins are tied with the 2014-15 Tigers and the 1999-2000 Florida State Seminoles for the second-longest streak in ACC history. The longest winning streak in ACC history is 29, set by Florida State from 2012-14.
  • Clemson attempting to win a sixth straight home game against SEC competition (def. Georgia in 2014, South Carolina in 2014 and 2016, Auburn in 2017, and South Carolina again in 2018). The current five-game home winning streak against SEC foes is already the longest in school history.
  • Clemson improved to 9-1 against SEC competition since 2016.
  • Clemson won its ninth straight regular season game against SEC competition. Clemson's last regular season loss to an SEC team came against Georgia in 2014.
  • Clemson won its 20th consecutive regular season non-conference game. Clemson's 20-game streak against non-conference opponents in the regular season dates to a 73-7 win against South Carolina State on Sept. 6, 2014. No member of Clemson's current roster has lost a non-conference game in regular season play.
  • Clemson improved to 10-2 all-time in games as the AP No. 1-ranked team. Eleven of Clemson's 12 games played at No. 1 all-time have come during the Dabo Swinney era.
  • Swinney improved to 17-9 all-time against SEC opponents.
  • Swinney improved to 6-4 all-time against Texas A&M Head Coach Jimbo Fisher. The coaches were 4-4 against one another during Fisher's tenure at Florida State and Swinney is now 2-0 against Fisher with Texas A&M. Clemson has won five straight over Fisher-coached teams.
  • Swinney pushed his all-time record in non-conference play as a head coach to 43-13, which extended his non-conference record in regular season play to 34-8.
  • Clemson pushed its winning streak in Saturday games to 31 to extend the longest Saturday winning streak in school history. Clemson's 31-game run of consecutive Saturday victories is the longest active streak in the country.
  • Clemson won its 19th consecutive game in the month of September, dating back to 2014. The streak is already the longest in school history.
  • Clemson evened its all-time series record against Texas A&M at 3-3. Texas A&M won the first three games in the all-time series (1973, 1974 and 2004), while Clemson earned victories in 2005, 2018 and 2019.
  • Clemson earned its second all-time home win against Texas A&M (2005).
  • Clemson led 17-3 at halftime and has now won 68 of its last 70 games when leading at halftime. Per ESPN Stats & Info, it marked the 18th time that Clemson had outscored its opponent by 14-plus points in a half since 2016, most in the FBS.
  • Clemson improved to 89-2 since 2011 when leading after three quarters. Clemson is also 89-2 when totaling more first downs than its opponent in that same span.
  • Clemson has now won 70 straight games when holding teams under 23 points, a streak that dates to 2010.

CUTrevor 2019-09-08 14:51:01


Opening statement: 

“I’m really proud of everyone who played in today’s win. 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 ACC Atlantic play next week. I’m excited to see how we respond.”

On the offensive performance:

“Offensively, we left a little bit out there, but I thought that we controlled the game. 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.”

On the defensive performance:

“We did a tremendous job of being well-positioned, and we made great plays on the ball. 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.”


On the offensive game plan: 

“[Coach] Elko is one of the top [defensive coordinators] in the country and I have a tremendous amount of respect for him. We played him at Wake Forest and we played him here the last couple years. He’s had all offseason and I thought the last time we played him down in College Station he did an unbelievable job of really being able to hone in on some of our tendencies, so early on we were trying to break some tendencies, cat and mouse, see how he was going to play us, not just line up.”

On Lyn-J Dixon’s performance:

With Travis’ success, everyone’s gunning for him, so whenever No. 9 is on that field they’re going to be honed in on him and the run game. So it was good for Lyn-J to be able to come in there and he made a lot of plays last year towards the end of the game, so maybe some people didn’t pay attention, but he’s an explosive guy and all he needs is a crease. So it was really, really good for him in this situation to come in and spark us.”


Opening Statement:

“[I’m] really proud of our guys. We knew it was going to be a battle, a four-quarter game. [In the] first quarter, we got off a little slow; we only had 11 plays. [I’m] really proud of the way our guys responded in the second quarter.”

On Amari Rodgers’ return:

“If you had asked me two weeks ago, I thought it was going to be October [until he returned]. He did exactly what he needed to do. To be honest, I’m not surprised knowing Amari because he’s an above-and-beyond type of guy. Even Coach Swinney and I didn’t think two weeks ago that he would be back, Amari said, ‘I’m going to be back; I’m going to show y’all.’”


On using three safeties:

“Yeah, we’ve done a lot of dime packages through the years. We’ve had it every year, just some different tweaks and versions of it. That part was good today.”

On the secondary’s performance:

“It’s an experienced group. A year ago, three of the first four guys were starting in their first college game. It’s a seasoned group that has talent, length and pride. They took a lot of things that we talked about to heart.”

On late Texas A&M touchdown:

“That might have been our first bust where there was a missed assignment. I’m proud of our guys. They really had a great performance. They played with a great focus, passion and sense of desperation.”


On his performance: 

“I think my decisions were good for the most part today. I underthrew a few balls, just got a little tight, I wish I had those back but I felt like decision-wise I played well.”

On playing Texas A&M:

“It’s the biggest game of the year because it’s the next one. Coach Swinney always says that and it’s true and that’s how we think about every game, but it was a big game. Last year a lot of people said it was lucky that we got out of there with a win so we wanted to leave no doubt this year.”

On the defense’s performance:

“It makes you a lot more confident and you can do some things where, if your defense is struggling you couldn’t do so, they played great. They played lights out. It was good to see them respond after they were challenged this week so it was awesome.”


On if he thought he would be the leading rusher for Clemson:

“I just kept [my] mind in it. [I] just [tried] to run hard. I give credit to my offensive line because they work they’re butt off every day in practice, and it showed out there on game day.”

On being in the same backfield as Travis Etienne:

“It’s a really good one-two punch. It really helps both of us out. It’s a real good thing.”

On getting meaningful carries:

“We’re all [held] to the same standard. No matter who goes out there, we all get held to the same standard. I just tried to keep my mind right and focus on what I had to do.”


On level of confidence:

“All fall camp, we practice against one another. We got a great offense, so that builds a lot of confidence, during fall camp and throughout the season, getting to practice against such a great offense. We just try to play one play at a time and try to win every play.”

On responding after the missed tackle:

“I missed that one tackle, but like I said, I just try to play each play one at a time and try to win every play. I lost that one, but you just [have] to put it behind you and keep playing hard.”

On secondary’s performance:

“We had to come in here, be focused, and do our job, and I think we did it pretty well tonight.”


On his touchdown reception:

“He started scrambling so I had to find a way to get open and if you’re open, Trevor’s going to find you.”

On being tested early:

“It just shows how much of a team we are because a lot of teams go back and forth and if they’re not scoring they give up, but not us. We just kept going.”

On the importance of this game for him:

“I didn't really do anything against them [last season]. They don’t really know me so I had to go out there and prove a point.”


On his ankle injury:

“It’s doing good, I just rolled it. I thought it was my knee at first, but then I realized what was really going on so I just rolled my ankle and it’s just sprained right now… When I went down it was pretty scary I thought it was my knee at first like I said, but I realized it was my ankle and I just told them to put some tape on it so i could go back out there and play for my team.”

On the defensive gameplan:

“We did have a lot of flexibility in our defense, so we just went out there and showed them different looks to confuse the offensive coordinator and the quarterback out there so 4-3, 3-4, stuff like that.”

On his sack:

“It felt real good because I thought I wasn't going to be able to play at first, but I went back out and was able to go full speed so it felt good.”


On his brother Nick playing his first game for South Carolina tonight. 

“Yesterday my mom called me around 3 o’clock or 4 o’clock or so, but right then I was super excited for him and I texted him and told him how happy I was for him.”

On the secondary’s emergence:

It’s never been off and on, this and that, all the outside noise doesn't matter to us. We get it all the time. It’s always gonna fall on the back end and we know that as a secondary and we’re fine with that. We’ll take the heat, but then we’ll show up on Saturday and play to the best of our ability.”

On the defensive performance:

“We expect to make all the plays, that’s just how our defense is under Coach [Venables]. He expects to have either tackle for loss, sack, pick, we gotta be there. That’s how we prepare and I think the biggest thing for me is seeing Nolan [Turner], K’Von [Wallace], Denzel [Johnson], Isaiah [Simmons], the guys I’m right beside in the film room and seeing them make plays, just so much joy comes through me and I just want to help them celebrate the best I can.”


Opening Statement

“Congratulations to Clemson. They played a very good football game. [They’re a] very physical, good football team. [They] made the critical plays when they had to make the critical plays. Our guys, I thought we played hard. I didn’t think we played particularly well at times. I thought they did a good job mixing and matching some things, we made adjustments, and had opportunities to make plays. I mean, you gotta make critical plays at critical moments to keep pressure going back and forth in the game. Early, we had kind of… we had a couple… we had a drop on the first play, we had a miss on the second play. In the second, we’re up 3-0, we get a good drive, they drive back and score, and then we’re moving it again and create a turnover. Our defense did a good job. Transition defense gave up a field goal and unfortunately, we gave up a 90-yard drive right there before half, which was critical. But then [we] came out and played well defensively and offensively. We got a couple first downs on some things and then just didn’t get it going. Then, we had a really good drive and we missed a block on the backside. [We] had a chance to score with 10 minutes to go, get it to a two-score [game], 20-14, you’re still in the ballgame. But then, I give our kids credit. We kept playing, we played hard. They’re a good football team. We have a good football team but we have to play better and I have to coach better and that’s on me to get them in the right positions at the right time and make sure they know what’s going on and play better, because we have a good team. Like I said, they’re a good team, and so, we just didn’t play well enough today and didn’t do what we needed to do.”

On QB Kellen Mond

“Well, I thought he started off… you know, he had a couple throws early that… he couldn’t get in a groove. We dropped one off the bat and then we missed one. And you know, just a hair high here. And then, he started getting in a groove and then we lacked some protection, but he kept battling and playing well. I didn’t think he was in sync early, just a hair off. When he was in sync, we were dropping the ball, or as an offense, we were out of sync and he kept battling and played hard.”

On if defense played well enough to win

“We didn’t win so there ain’t no offense, defense, one side good enough. Texas A&M didn’t play well enough to win the game. As a team, you do whatever you have to do. I thought we played really well at times on defense. We played well, we played physical. Then, we gave up some big plays at times on a big drive, but I thought they had their moments; the offense had their moments. We gotta play better as a team.”

On if cramps were a problem


On halftime adjustments

“We made a lot of adjustments, our blocking scheme. We moved the ball for over 200 yards in the second half. Defensively, we held them to one touchdown. The other plays that they made, we had a guy come out of coverage on a scramble and if he stays back, I don’t know if we make it, but that’s what good players do. Their players made good plays. There were a lot of adjustments on how we schemed, on how we blocked, on how we moved it, and then we just couldn’t finish drives.”