The Tigers overpowered presumably the most talented team on its schedule Saturday in Memorial Stadium, hours after presumably the second-best team on its schedule suffered a 43-point loss. Through its next 10 games, Clemson will encounter capable players and competitive teams. Boston College and North Carolina State are never easy opponents. Wake Forest and Louisville have improved. Clemson running back Lyn-J Dixon (23) breaks free against the Texas A&M defenseduring the second quarter at Memorial Stadium.
But no one on Clemson’s schedule has the requisite combination of exceptional players, trustworthy depth and effective strategy to threaten Clemson directly. If the Tigers remain healthy, the only thing that could hinder their pursuit of another undefeated regular season would be their own negligence. On Monday, defensive coordinator Brent Venables contended, at least this season, Clemson would not face a quarterback better than Texas A&M’s Kellen Mond. That was intended as a compliment for Mond, but apparently, it was accepted as a challenge for Clemson’s defense.
Clemson attacked Texas A&M primarily from a three-man front and pressured Mond consistently. Clemson did not allow a touchdown until six seconds remained in the game. Conversely, Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence performed closer to his All-American level, after an adequate, yet substandard, performance in the season opener against Georgia Tech. Lawrence passed for 168 yards, scored two touchdowns and tossed two interceptions last week. He amassed more yards and scored as many touchdowns in the first half Saturday.