Kelly Bryant completed 12 of 17 passes for 205 yards and a touchdown as No. 2 Clemson survived a scare from host Texas A&M, 28-26, Saturday night.
The Tigers improved to 2-0 while Texas A&M slipped to 1-1.
Texas A&M sophomore quarterback Kellen Mond had a career game, completing 23 of 40 passes for 430 yards and three touchdowns. The result wasn’t sealed until Mond’s two-point pass attempt to tie the game with 46 seconds left was intercepted in the end zone by Clemson cornerback Mark Fields.
Clemson coach Dabo Swinney broke a 4-4 deadlock all time against first-year Texas A&M coach Jimbo Fisher, who spent his previous eight seasons at Florida State. Swinney has won each of his last four meetings with Fisher.
Clemson, which was the highest-ranked non-conference opponent ever to play at A&M’s Kyle Field, improved to 6-6 all time in the state of Texas, but it marked the Tigers’ first victory in the Lone Star State since the 1959 Bluebonnet Bowl.
It also was Clemson’s fourth straight road victory against a Southeastern Conference opponent — the longest such streak in program history.
Clemson appeared to have the game well in hand when Travis Etienne’s 1-yard run gave the Tigers a 28-13 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
But Mond kept the sixth-largest crowd in Kyle Field history — 104,794 — on its feet by sparking late heroics.
A&M opened the final quarter with a 75-yard drive that culminated with Mond’s 14-yard strike to wide receiver Quartney Davis that cut Clemson’s lead to 28-20. The Aggies drove to Clemson’s 25-yard line with 2:13 left, but Davis fumbled the ball while diving for the end zone following a 25-yard completion.
After a review, officials ruled that the ball went through the end zone, resulting in a touchback and drawing vehement complaint from Fisher, to no avail.
Clemson took over on its 20-yard line and gained seven yards before having to punt the ball away with 1:17 left in the game, giving the Aggies a final shot at the upset.
Although freshman quarterback Trevor Lawrence had a 64-yard touchdown pass to Tee Higgins on his first play in the game, Bryant took the majority of snaps for Clemson and also finished as the Tigers’ leading rusher with 54 yards, including a 1-yard touchdown.
Higgins had 123 yards on three receptions while Kendrick Rogers led the Aggies with seven receptions for 120 yards and two scores.
—Field Level Media