Texas A&M vs. Clemson football

Texas A&M quarterback Kellen Mond (11) looks to throw a pass in the first quarter Saturday against Clemson at Kyle Field.

OFFENSE: B

What went right: Texas A&M got the ball to its playmakers, with Kellen Mond leading the way. He was dazzling, not making a turnover against a unit that prides itself in forcing quarterbacks into mistakes. Wide receivers Kendrick Rogers (7 catches-120 yards, 2 TDs) and Camron Buckley (4-93) no longer are unknowns.

What went wrong: The fumble by Nick Starkel when Mond was out for a play with cramps was a killer. It essentially was a two-score swing.

Bottom line: A&M had 501 yards, including 285 in the second half when Clemson on its heels.


 

DEFENSE: B

What went right: Clemson converted only 4 of 13 third downs with A&M forcing five three-and-outs. But the biggest plus was keeping the Tigers out of the end zone at the end of the first half.

What went wrong: Clemson had 168 of its yards on three catches because of its taller, athletic receivers working over A&M’s corners.

Bottom line: A&M couldn’t rattle Clemson senior quarterback Kelly Bryant, who, along with not making a turnover, rushed for 54 yards on 15 carries, killing A&M with his legs.


 

SPECIAL TEAMS: C+

What went right: Punter Braden Mann had punts of 69 and 73 yards, and Roshauud Paul added punt returns of 11 and 14 yards as they helped A&M to great field position.

What went wrong: Kicker Daniel LaCamera missed a 26-yard field goal after hitting 13 straight last year inside the 40, and his 50-yard attempt was blocked.

Bottom line: LaCamera hit a pair of 40-yard field goals, but you can’t miss from 26 and have another blocked and expect to beat the nation’s second-ranked team.


 

COACHING: A

What went right: A&M’s screen game and ability to get receivers open in the middle had Clemson befuddled, helping A&M average 7 yards per play.

What went wrong: A&M had to use 3-4 timeouts because of personnel or time-clock issues. A&M hurried to the line on third-and-1 in the second quarter only to lose a yard.

Bottom line: A&M three times trailed by two scores, seemingly showing more fight — and toughness — each time to cut into the deficits.


 

OVERALL: A-

What went right: The pluses far outweighed the minuses. A&M, despite a couple costly hiccups, was a two-point conversion away from sending the game into overtime, where it probably wins.

What went wrong: Maybe if Jimbo Fisher had it to do over he wouldn’t have called a pass with Starkel in the game. Then again, if Starkel had thrown a touchdown, Fisher would look like a genius, which he was for much of the night and every night since he hit town.

Bottom line: A&M shook off the fumble out of the end zone to come right back and score to be in position to take the game in overtime. A&M passed its first test under Fisher in flying colors. It just didn’t move to the head of the class, but it’s a heck of a lot closer to the front than last year at this time.

(7) comments

Objective Homer

Coaching was not an A. Dont get me wrong here- I love love love me some Jimbo and everything hes doing BUT, he got way too cute on the play with starkle. it was first down and 10 right there. Run the ball there. plain and simple. Starkle had no feel whatsoever for the speed of that D line. His internal clock had no clue. I know its only one play but throw in the fact we had to take the early time outs and no way is coaching an A.

tstex

Homer, I respectfully disagree. Fisher was willing to take a risk w Starkel via a pass, and everyone thought for sure that it would be a run, so he went w the element of surprise. However, Mond didn't get blind sided in the entire game and Starkel did. I agree in hindsight it looked like the wrong move, but if he tossed a pass for a TD, then no one would have second guessed it. The run game was, for the most part, non-existent except for a few carries by Mond on pass plays that stretched out the defense. So, fisher went w something that no one would have expected, but a blocking assignment cratered.

As for the timeouts, this was the first major game for this whole team under a new coach, new scheme and new plays. This was nothing like playing NW LA. Therefore, the pressure our Ag's were under was pretty colossal. They were by default, IMHO, entitled to a few pre-snap mishaps. Furthermore, I have even seen Alabama many times cause Saban to call a timeout when he didn't want to do so. It happens in the pros often too. Would you rather the Ag's take a 5yd penalty?

To conclude, you only pointed out 2 instances: a gamble that lost and timeouts that happen. However, look at 99% of the rest of the game where the Ag's succeeded, esp some 3 and outs for Clemson in the 2nd half. Clemson beat A&M on 2-4 long plays, one was offensive pass interference for sure that sustained a TD drive. We missed one for sure FG and had another blocked. I cannot say for sure that A&M would have won bc there's no telling how Clemson would have reacted to being behind or getting to that point.

The major takeaway is that we hung w the nations #2 team, came close to winning and saw some real player development. We also saw plays mixed up enough that opened the middle for almost 500 yds passing. Did you see the AZ and UH game and how the old pass to the WR's on the sidelines failed again for sumlin, along w a totally porous defense. Except for a few of the secondary plays,. our defense played fantastically and that was surely accompanied by great DC play calling. If you can only point to 2 of 90 plays as bad, that equates to .022 percent so that means 97% of the other plays were good...a 97% equates for an A to me. We still have a ways to go, but the future has both hope and a sense of building upon itself, while the last 5 yrs never felt that way at all....gig'em

Objective Homer

All good points....cant really argue other than to say that some questions on the quiz are weighted with more value than the others. 72 plays by the way, not 90. Starkel turning the ball over there was an extremely critical moment considering the score and where were on the field. It was a bigger gamble than it needed to be right there in my opinion. Does it take away the A grade? Maybe not. You are probably right. I just know I would have liked to see how things went if we would have showed a little more patience there until mond could come back in.

Yes I watched bubble screen U that morning. Just horrible to watch. So glad we no longer have to deal with that. Not enough depth and talent in AZ to make up for that. Its amazing we won as many games as we did with that play calling.

SonsofTexas

In my opinion all you can ask for is a dog in the fight. This team was in said fight last week. Rule number one and it hasn’t been followed here since Slocum left is don’t beat yourself. Jimbo didn’t get out coached. He got beat by a more talented program. Not to harp but what they produced with this team is nothing short of miraculous. Players were in the right spot made the right reads. They just got beat by better athletes. The recruiting rankings for the next class prove that is changing. This is what progress looks like. Sumlin never came close. Fisher maximized the talent he had he just didn’t have enough of it.

As for the defense I was really impressed with the game called. Other than missed tackles in the secondary which could have been due to the wet field they were in position all night long. It’s scary to think how good they will be when the recruiting fills in positions Sumlin ignored. The future definitely looks bright. As long as Jimbo is there you will need to wear a hard hat bring your sister and a sack lunch because they are going to compete with anyone. This team is soft no more. Now you have an SEC coach. It’s getting interesting now......

agga'71

I think we're splitting hairs here, but play selection on Starkles play really didn't surprise me. Starkle has more starts than Mond and until just over two weeks ago was in a dead heat competition for the starting job. Why would you not trust him on any call?
As far as total team performance and in case anyone is interested, what we saw Saturday is what bidness, BIG bidness, looks like when it picks up.

Objective Homer

Yes, splitting hairs is correct. I'll back down on this. I just personally didn't like the call but after drilling deeper down I now better understand why it was attempted. Showing confidence in Starkle goes a long way in Jimbos long term broader picture plans. I get it.

celticag7

Gig 'em!

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.