The defending National Champions once again take on a SEC opponent this weekend, when the Aggies of Texas A&M come to town. Trevor Lawrence struggled last weekend in the season opener, and he will need to improve immensely this week against a team with a veteran Quarterback, and a solid running attack. Let’s dive a bit deeper into this intriguing cross conference matchup.
Bounceback for Trevor Lawrence
Trevor Lawrence came into the season with Heisman Trophy aspirations, but his debut this season was disappointing at best, and downright bad at the worst. He went just 13-23 for 168, one touchdown, and two interceptions. His best game certainly wasn’t needed, as Clemson cruised to a 52-14 win over Georgia Tech, but he will need to be much better this week against Texas A&M.
Slowing down Travis Etienne
Truth be told, the Tigers didn’t really need Lawrence last week, as Travis Etienne was running circles around Georgia Tech all night long. He was able to log 205 yards on the ground on just 12 carries, for an incredible average of 17 yards per carry. He also logged three touchdowns, and will certainly be hoping to find the endzone again this week against the Aggies.
Texas A&M were solid against the run last season, allowing just 95 yards a game. They will need to establish dominance over Etienne in order to force Lawrence to beat them through the air.
Who Steps Up After Tee Higgins
Tee Higgins led the Clemson Tigers in receptions last season with 59, and was second on the team in yardage with 936 yards. Justyn Ross outgained him with 1,000 yards even, but last week, he had three catches, but only for 15 yards. Meanwhile, Higgins exploded for 4 catches, 98 yards, and Lawrence’s lone touchdown.
No other pass catcher on the offense logged more than one reception last week, and that will need to chance against Texas A&M. It is safe to assume that Clemson didn’t unload their entire play book last week, perhaps saving more of their exotic plays and formations for this game.
Spiller and Corbin Duo
Switching our focus over to Texas A&M, and the strategy coming into the game seems fairly straight forward. Last week, they had control of the game because of their lethal running combination of Isaiah Spiller and Jashaun Corbin. Spiller ran for 106 yards on just seven carries, while Corbin was more of the bruiser, registering 103 yards on 22 carries.
These two will have to be motoring along on Saturday if Texas A&M wants to have a shot at this game. They will need to control the time of possession, keeping Trevor Lawrence and this high powered Clemson offense off the field.
Take the Big Points Here
It’s highly unlikely that Texas A&M is able to pull off the outright upset here. Clemson is an incredible 53-3 at home in the last eight years, and this season should be no different really. With that said, the struggles of Trevor Lawrence last week cannot be ignored, and while the Aggies don’t have the most imposing defense, it is certainly better than the unit that just contained Lawrence last week.
Ultimately, 17 points is too much to pass up on here. If Texas A&M do manage to jump out to a lead, or even keep it close early on, they will look to run the ball to milk the clock, which certainly helps when you are getting big points like this.