COLLEGE STATION, Texas — No one picked Texas A&M to beat Clemson, not when the Tigers got here into Kyle Subject with the No. 2 rating and a defensive position that’s the envy of faculty soccer.
But when the Aggies obtained the ball again with 4:03 to play, a palpable buzz stuffed the air and 104,794 screaming followers stood, waving white towels. Clemson had stalled out on two drives within the fourth quarter, whereas Texas A&M quarterback Kellen Mond took hit after hit, getting again up each time, delivering massive performs on the vaunted Tigers protection.
What occurred subsequent can solely be described as a wild, emotional, surprising remaining 4 minutes, punctuated by a disputed name, a coach going ballistic on the sideline, another likelihood for A&M, a tipped landing catch and rather more. Clemson gained 28-26, and the best way this recreation ended won’t be forgotten anytime quickly.
4:03 left, fourth quarter — Texas A&M, trailing 28-20, takes possession at its personal 15
Mond hits a leaping Kendrick Rogers for a 30-yard acquire to begin the drive. On the following play, Mond finds tight finish Jace Sternberger for 28 yards, and rapidly, the Aggies are in Clemson territory. The Tigers name a timeout with 3:05 left to assemble themselves and three performs later Mond finds receiver Quartney Davis, who catches the ball on a curl route on the Clemson 15, turns, slips on the 10, heads towards the left sideline and bypasses a pair of Clemson defenders blocked by fellow receiver Camron Buckley.
Clemson security Ok’Von Wallace is in pursuit. Davis is considering finish zone. On the 4, he begins to lean ahead and extends his arms with the ball towards the pylon. Wallace catches Davis on the 2 and knocks the ball out. It flies out of bounds. The officers rule it a touchback. After a replay evaluate, the decision stands. Clemson ball.
Clemson S Wallace: “When [Davis] caught the ball, I am thinkin’, ‘Any individual’s obtained to get the ball out his hand, as a result of the top zone is 5 yards away.’ So when he scrambled unfastened, I used to be like ‘That is my time to get the ball out.'”
Clemson coach Dabo Swinney: “Give Ok’Von Wallace some credit score, you understand? … That is what the center of a champion appears like proper there. He is giving all he is obtained and he goes and knocks the ball unfastened and creates a scenario. So, you understand, it is a bang-bang play, and in the event you’re on that aspect of it, a really robust name … I believed it was going to be arduous to overturn. And in the event that they’d referred to as it the opposite means it might’ve most likely been arduous to overturn. However, like I stated, I am simply pleased with my man for busting his butt and getting over there and knocking it unfastened.”
Texas A&M coach Jimbo Fisher: “He was out of bounds [before the goal line]. … That is a tricky name to make for my part. That needs to be referred to as from upstairs. … We will not whine over calls. That occurs. That is ball. They referred to as it. It wasn’t there.”
Clemson defensive lineman Clelin Ferrell: “It was only a nice play by Ok’Von not giving up on a play, punching that factor out. I do know there’s quite a lot of controversy over it however, hey, it occurred to go our means. I do not suppose you may say they obtained cheated. We have been of their home, so Ok’Von made an excellent effort play and it went our means.
Wallace: “Lots of people stated it wasn’t [a touchback] due to the angle they’d, however I felt like if it was a unique angle, they’d’ve clearly seen that it was a touchback. So I am glad that they made the best name, whatever the followers and all the things.”
Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables: “That was only a nice lesson that you simply by no means surrender on a play, and it will possibly make a distinction between profitable and shedding.”
Texas A&M quarterback Mond: “My job is attempting to maintain everyone inspired, and letting everyone know we’ll get the ball again. That is what occurred.”
“Robust break, however hey, on the finish of the day, if the child hangs on to the ball, you ain’t obtained an issue.”
Swinney: “I’ve had a few of them go towards me, too. I’ve had good and dangerous. You reside lengthy sufficient, they will even out. Robust name, actually a tricky name. Robust break, however hey, on the finish of the day, if the child hangs on to the ball, you ain’t obtained an issue.”
1:12 left, fourth quarter — Texas A&M ball, trailing 28-20
After Davis’ fumble, Clemson went three-and-out and a brief punt gave the Aggies possession on the Tigers’ 49. Mond discovered Rogers for 10 yards, then the Tigers have been flagged for go interference, shifting the ball to the 24.
Mond fakes a handoff, drops again and Ferrell races round Texas A&M proper sort out Dan Moore to seize Mond’s proper shoulder. He solely will get jersey, leaving Mond’s shoulder pad uncovered. Mond shakes off the strain, steps up within the pocket, appears left, then scans to his second development, in the midst of the sphere, the place — you guessed it — Rogers is being blanketed by Wallace.
Mond fires a bullet, Wallace will get his fingers on it and the ball hangs within the air, however Rogers secures it with each fingers. Landing, Texas A&M.
As Rogers celebrates — he turns towards the A&M bench and yells “NOT IN OUR HOUSE!” Wallace is on the turf, along with his fingers on his helmet, pissed off that he simply missed the game-clinching interception.
Rogers: “I noticed how the protection was taking part in, so I knew if Kellen made the reads proper he would come to me. Once I noticed the ball get tipped, I used to be sort of nervous, actually, however I saved combating for the ball and made an excellent catch.”
Mond: “When Kendrick had that landing on the aim line, that was positively an excellent feeling with the group once I walked over to Coach Fisher, simply attempting to speak to him a few recreation plan, speaking to him a few final play to get him ultimately zone. That was one of many better emotions of the sport.”
0:46 left, fourth quarter — Texas A&M goes for 2
Down 28-26, the Aggies want a two-point conversion to tie the sport. Mond takes a shotgun snap, rolls proper and A&M receivers flood the best aspect of the top zone. However Christian Wilkins — one of many Tigers’ 4 All-American defensive linemen, attracts a holding flag from Keaton Sutherland, and Austin Bryant chases Mond to the A&M sideline.
Mond tries to launch it as much as Jhamon Ausbon, who’s coated by two Clemson defenders and — who else? — Wallace comes up with an interception.
Wallace: “I knew that we wanted a cease, it doesn’t matter what it was: an interception, a [pass breakup], a sack, a sort out for loss, one thing. I knew that my group was relying on me to make a play since I used to be the rationale that they scored within the first place — me dropping a decide and [Rogers] scooping it up and scoring it. So I felt prefer it was my obligation to make that play.”
Venables: “[We] anticipated the dash out and did a very good job. You are within the pink zone, [so] you do not wish to be behind the routes down there, you employ the sideline and the top zone as an additional defender, so Ok’Von does a pleasant job of sliding beneath the route, and Austin did an excellent job anticipating the pocket shifting and obtained strain instantly.”
Wallace: “The protection we have been in, I needed to watch [Mond’s] eyes. I do know that he all the time needed to roll out so he might throw it up, so I used to be ready for that, and it simply so occurred that he threw it proper to me.”
Mond: “We have been there ultimately to complete, at the least to tie the sport up. I’ve obtained to make a greater play and provides our group an opportunity.”
However wait, there’s nonetheless an onside kick to go. After failing on the two-point strive, the Aggies line up for an onside kick — however Clemson recovers, to Swinney’s aid. The Tigers are 2-0.
Swinney: “[After the two-point conversion] I appeared on the clock, and I went, ‘Crap, we have an onside kick.’ I hoped there was like three seconds left. I am like, ‘Is the sport not over? This recreation’s by no means gonna finish.’ So now you are sitting there going, ‘OK, you have obtained an onside kick. What else can occur?’ That was most likely the cleanest play of the whole night time, was the onside kick. And naturally, fittingly, I believe [Hunter] Renfrow completed it off.
“However, oh, man, what a recreation.”