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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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One step away
June 8, 2024

Clemson’s defense holds off Aggies in final seconds

Photo by Photo by Cassie Stricker

Clemson Head Coach Dabo Swinney exits Kyle Field following Clemson’s 28-26 victory.

The matchup between the No. 2 Clemson defense and the Texas A&M offense was one to watch on Saturday. Four sacks and a crucial touchback call later, the Tiger’s defense came out on top, 28-26 proving to be a powerful force in the SEC.
The Tiger’s made their presence known early on in the game, taking advantage of the challenges that come with passing the ball in the rain. Clemson forced a field goal in for the Aggies second possession and stopping a rolling A&M offense.
Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney said overall the defense was able to finish the job, aside from the aggressive plays by A&M quarterback Kellen Mond and the three penalties they were charged with in the fourth quarter.
“Kellen [Mond] made some plays. I thought we didn’t do as a good a job at times with our rush. We had a couple penalties that hurt us. We got a couple bad calls…we played a lot of plays on defense, but we needed one more and we got it done.”
A&M’s offense had five penalties to match Clemson’s three. However, those penalties proved to be the deciding factor in whether or not the Aggies could score during several series, and a big part in the defense’s ability to keep them from scoring downfield.
Despite a strong start, the well established Clemson defense began to show some faults in the second half. Allowing A&M to score not once, but four times, and putting the game within two points with a under a minute left.
Swinney said this was due to the team not playing complementary to each other. The moments defense was strong, the offense was weak and vice versa.
“We kind of worked against each other tonight. We couldn’t quite put it together like we needed to,” Swinney said. “Our defense was out there stopping them and we’re on the goal line, got a chance to go up three touchdowns and we screw it up…and then we get up 13, then you’re like ‘Alright we’re getting control’ [then] big play. Now, our defense is now all of a sudden [unable to] stop them.”
The crucial call for Clemson’s defense happened minutes before the game ended. With the Aggies in scoring position, just 25-yards from the end zone, Clemson’s junior safety K’Von Wallace forced a fumble two yards out. Leading to a touchback call by the referees, inching the Tigers that much closer to a win in College Station.
Even with a touchdown by A&M later in this quarter, Clemson’s defense could not be stopped. They got the win after intercepting Mond during A&M’s two-point conversion attempt, ending the Aggies hope for an upset.

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