Clemson kept giving Texas A&M chances and A&M couldn’t capitalize.
A&M scored with less than a minute left to pull within two on this amazing catch by Kendrick Rogers.
But the two-point conversion was intercepted and No. 2 Clemson held on for a 28-26 win. Had the conversion been good, that catch by Rogers would have gone down in A&M lore.
A critical touchback happened on the drive before that
Clemson got the ball back with just over two minutes left but gave the ball back to the Aggies for what would have been the game-tying drive after failing to get a first down.
Clemson’s futile drive was set up by a Texas A&M touchback. Kellen Mond completed a pass to Quartney Davis, who dove toward the pylon and lost the ball while going for a potential game-tying touchdown. The ball appeared to go outside the pylon as it flew out of bounds but the call on the field was ruled to be a touchback.
The call stood after a review. You make the call. Was this a touchback? It sure looks like it shouldn’t have been because it went outside of the pylon.
The touchback continues to be the worst rule in football. Fumbling out of the end zone should not give the ball to the other team. Fumbling out of bounds at the 1 gets you the ball at that spot. Why does the end zone mean the other team gets it?
Complaining about the rule is of little consolation to Aggie fans, who have a right to be frustrated with the call and with the way their team got so close but couldn’t break through late in the game.
Kellen Mond was a bright spot
Mond beat out Nick Starkel for the right to be A&M’s starter and has shown marked improvement from 2017. He was fantastic against Clemson on Saturday, making plays with his feet and improvising well against Clemson’s ferocious defensive front. He finished the game 23-of-40 passing for 430 yards and three touchdowns. A&M needed him through the air because the Aggies couldn’t get anything going on the ground.
Clemson led the game 21-6 in the third quarter and 28-13 in the fourth. But Mond led touchdown drives each time the deficit got to two possessions and came a conversion away from forcing one of the best teams in the country to overtime.
Kelly Bryant the better of Clemson’s two QBs
Freshman QB Trevor Lawrence connected on a 64-yard touchdown with Tee Higgins on his first pass Saturday night. He was 4-of-8 passing for 31 yards on his other attempts.
Kelly Bryant started the game and proved to be the better quarterback in the hostile confines of Kyle Field. Bryant was 12-of-17 passing for 205 yards and a touchdown and ran for a score as well. He moved the offense more efficiently than Lawrence did and kept his grip on the primary quarterback job over the five-star freshman for at least another week.
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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.
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