“Can’t Get Enough”

Campus Clash

(12) Texas A&M Aggies at (1) Clemson Tigers

Texas A&M: They have everything it takes to be a competitive team. Jimbo Fisher was hired to get this program headed in the right direction and it’s slowly but surely getting there. The sky is the limit for the Texas A&M Aggies. They entered the season with all their focus on Texas State and showed up big time with a 41-7 victory in week one. I think they could’ve done more damage if quarterback Kellen Mond played more. For as much as he played, he had a nice night at the office completing 19 of his 27 pass attempts for 194 yards with three touchdown passes and one interception. He looked very locked in and continues to get comfortable under Jimbo. As we all know, Coach Jimbo is known for helping develop quarterbacks. Look at what he did in 2013 with a then-freshman named Jameis Winston. He took the nation by storm with his play which led to the Heisman trophy and a few weeks later that year, the national championship. It’s safe to say Jimbo knows a thing or two when it comes to helping a quarterback. As much as their offense was impressive, their defense was what grabbed my attention. Mike Elko’s unit held Texas State to eight yards rushing and recorded four interceptions in the victory. As you read this, you’ll say stop it Christian, they played Texas State. Yes, that maybe true, but hey, you play who you play at the end of the day. Now, they can put the opener in the rearview mirror to face a much different beast now: The defending champion Clemson Tigers.

Clemson: Heading into their opener against Georgia Tech in week one, a lot of the focus was on the quarterback of course. As much as Dabo Swinney won’t admit it, he had a quarterback controversy on his hands last season. Then, he decided to stick with Trevor Lawrence, and it paid off. It got them the top seed in the playoffs and their second championship in three seasons. Now, Trevor is the full-time starter. You saw what he did when he was named the starter in week five last season, now we get him for a full year. He didn’t look all that sharp to me last Thursday. He was 13 of 23 with a touchdown pass and two interceptions. With how the score looked though, you wouldn’t think it was a problem because Travis Etienne came in and took over. There are some great running backs in the game of college football, and he happens to be one of them. He’s the engine that makes this Clemson offense go because when you feed him the ball, he’ll continue to work. He carried the ball 12 times for 205 yards and three touchdowns in the champs opening win. He’ll be great at the next level. The only thing he needs to work on is his pass catching out the backfield. If you thought their defense would fold with all the talent they lost from last year’s team, they won’t. With the way Brent Venables stacks and recruit’s talent, Clemson will always have one of the best defenses in the country. Week one is in the books and now, they will have their sights set on the Aggies from College Station, Texas on Saturday afternoon.

A&M Player To Watch: Myles Jones– The tall cornerbacks are still in today. He’s 6’4 with long arms, a big frame and he’s a ballhawk. He recorded two of the four interceptions in the opener last week. On Saturday, he’ll be seeing a bit of either Tee Higgins, Amari Rodgers or Justyn Ross.

Clemson Player To Watch: Xavier Thomas– This is a very special talent. He’s very explosive with his first step. He’s a wrecking ball that plays all over. He plays wide, he can cover screen passes, he attacks the line of scrimmage on each play and he sets the edge and contains the ball-carrier. He’s the next great Clemson defender.

Final Analysis: Just when you think Dabo and Jimbo were done seeing each other, we get this matchup. This is the tenth career matchup between the two head coaches. If this showdown is anything like last year’s, we are in for a treat. I remember when I previewed this one last year, I thought Clemson was going to dominate them. Texas A&M gave them all they could handle going into the fourth quarter and I can see them giving the champs a tough time again. Clemson had difficulty shutting down the vertical passing game of the Aggies. A year later, this is a younger Clemson defense that the Aggies are facing. If I’m the Aggies, I’m controlling the line of scrimmage, I’m testing this defense of Clemson every chance I get and when the opportunity presents itself to score, score! Clemson knows they’ll have their hands full with Texas A&M. How does Trevor bounce back after struggling in the opener last week? I’ll be paying close attention to him.

Prediction: Clemson 35 Texas A&M 31