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Clemson vs. Texas A&M: 2nd Quarter Film Review

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NCAA Football: Clemson at Texas A&M Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Kellen Mond played the game of his life on Saturday. Despite getting seventy yards from his running game Mond helped the Aggies put up the most yardage Clemson has allowed since 2016 Louisville. Similar to Lamar Jackson in 2016, Mond was able to make Venables pay for sending pressure early before scrambling and creating plays against four man rushes in the second half. Safety play left a lot to be desired, with K’von Wallace having a particularly rough time with tipped passes and dropped balls. Isaiah Simmons looked lost for portions of the game. I’m a fan of Muse, but with that said, it’s probably not good when Tanner Muse looks like the reliable, stabilizing influence. Fisher and a talented group of receivers took advantage of Clemson coverage busts to keep A&M in the game. Ironically at times it looked like Big 12 football.

We start the second quarter off with Clemson holding a 7-3 lead in College Station and the Aggies driving down the field.

Opening drive

Down & Distance Formation Play Analysis
Down & Distance Formation Play Analysis
2nd & 15 11 trips vs. 4-3 under Clemson shows cover 1, Sam blitz, cover 3 fire zone, fade/out route to Sternberger falls incomplete, Lawrence dropped the center in Mond's lap Muse read the quarterback's eyes and was in position to contest the catch, could have been an interception if not thrown low
3rd & 15 11 trips vs. 4-2 Counter read + bubble screen, handoff tackled in the backfield A&M doesn't have the timing down on their gap runs, they also tend to struggle to kick out the end man on the line of scrimmage

Punt.

Clemson Ball, 14:27, Clemson 36

(cues up immigrant song)

Like last week against Furman, Trevor Lawrence comes out for the first drive of the second quarter.

First Clemson drive

Down & Distance Formation Play Analysis
Down & Distance Formation Play Analysis
1st & 10 11 vs. 4-2 Cover one, PA pass, safety blitz, fade route outside to Higgins who pulls the ball in from behind, breaks a tackle and dives through another for a touchdown! Nothing more A&M could have done there, the corner and deep safety are in position but Higgins makes the better play

Mike Elko’s plan defensively was to send pressure until Lawrence proved he could handle it, and it often worked. The late rotating safety was held up by play action here and Lawrence was able to step up in a relatively clean pocket. Clemson touchdown!

Clemson 14- Texas A&M 3

Texas A&M ball, 14:13 Aggie 25

Second A&M drive

Down & Distance Formation Play Analysis
Down & Distance Formation Play Analysis
1st & 10 12 bunch vs. 4-3 under PA pass, Mond brought down by Justin Foster before the camera panned out to show coverage Foster was able to use his wingspan to keep the tackle from getting a hand on him.
2nd & 14 11 vs. 4-2 Jet sweep fake, cover 0, LB bullets, screen to the running back, broken up under pressure The defensive lines athleticism makes plays dependent on timing much harder to execute
3rd & 14 2 TE empty vs. DOD Three man rush, tampa two, Muse breaks on a post route almost has the interception The two tight ends both chip a defensive end before running to the flats, both slowing down the pass rush and offering outlets. A&M is doing everything they can to nuetralize this pass rush
Tampa two is almost exclusively a third and long coverage now, with Joseph (#34) being asked to cover the deep middle of the field from a linebacker spot to help guard against post and dig routes.

Punt

Clemson ball, 13:19, Clemson 38

Second Clemson drive

Down & Distance Formation Play Analysis
Down & Distance Formation Play Analysis
1st & 10 11 trips vs. 4-2 A&M rotates to cover three post snap, power handoff to Ettiene for a gain of 5 Anchrum and Pollard do a fantastic job creating a hole
2nd & 5 11 vs. 4-2 Sam blitz, defensive end drops, cover 4, back shoulder fade complete to Diondre Overton Renfrow's curl route keeps the attention of the safety for long enough for Overton to get 1 on 1 coverage
1st & 10 10 vs. 4-2 Power option, Lawrence keeps and is dragged down by the playside linebacker after a gain of 2 John Simpson pulled too slow to pickup the linebacker who eventually makes the tackle
2nd & 8 10 vs. 4-2 Etienne motions out of the backfield, slants to the 2 receiver side snag to the 3 receiver side, snag route thrown off the hands off Powell Clemson likes to pair a man beater (slants) to one side with a zone beater (snag) to the other and use motion to help the QB identify which side of the field to attack
3rd & 8 10 trips vs. 3-2 dime Four man rush, Lawrence rolls out, throws the ball out of bounds Lawrence is having some struggles keeping his eyes downfield despite pressure

Punt

Texas A&M ball, 11:42, A&M 8

3rd A&M drive

Down & Distance Formation Play Analysis
Down & Distance Formation Play Analysis
1st & 10 11 trips vs. 4-2 Stretch handoff away from a bubble screen, Mullen makes the tackle in the flats Having corners who can make tackles makes a world of difference against outside runs
2nd & 4 4-3 under vs. 21 I Inside zone handoff, Etwi follows a lead block from the fullback and falls forward Joseph got double teamed by a guard and a fullback, opening a hole
3rd & 1 4-3 under vs. 21 I The Aggies hurry up to the line and run an inside zone handoff, nothing for Etwi who tries to bounce back before being tackled for a loss Wilkins was able to shoot a gap and create a pile, forcing Etwi to hesitate in the backfield

Punt.

Clemson ball, 9:43, Clemson 15

3rd Clemson drive

Down & Distance Formation Play Analysis
Down & Distance Formation Play Analysis
1st & 10 11 vs. 4-2 RPO, inside zone paired with a backside comeback route, Lawrence throws to Tee Higgins on the sideline This play takes advantage of safeties filling against the run in quarters coverage, leaving a corner on an island with Higgins

3rd Clemson drive continued

Down & Distance Formation Play Analysis
Down & Distance Formation Play Analysis
2nd & 1 11 trips vs. 4-2 Power RPO, fade thrown to Higgins sails incomplete Clemson aligns its receivers wide to remove the nickle from the box, Lawrence overthrew the pass slightly under pressure
3rd & 1 11 vs. 4-2 Jet sweep motion, Mike bullet, power read opposite side blown up in the backfield, No one picks up the Mike at the line of scrimmage and he makes the tackle, missed assignment from Pollard

Punt

Texas A&M ball, 8:21, Texas A&M 38

Fourth A&M drive

Down & Distance Formation Play Analysis
Down & Distance Formation Play Analysis
1st & 10 10 vs. 3-3 tite (Ferrell as OLB) Play action roll out, corner route broken up by Simmons Lamar did a good job forcing the edge and making Mond throw, Simmons showed his strength in deep coverage
2nd & 10 11 vs. 4-2 Pin-pull sweep able to get to the edge, brought down by JD Davis from the backside Offensive linemen hold on every single play, and will tell you so, so I try not to complain about holding. But man they were really letting that OL play.
3rd & 3 11 vs. 4-2 False start
3rd & 8 11 vs. 4-2 Both DT's in the B gaps, Clemson fakes like it's sending both LB's up the middle, cover 4, pass tipped by Lawrence but caught by Sternberger for a first down Nothing more you can do there.
1st & 10 11 vs. 4-2 RPO, inside zone + quick post, Clemson rolls to cover 3, no one to help Terrell inside, easy completion Clemson runs this play as well, the goal is to catch a safety out of position in run support, Wallace was being asked to be in two places at once

Here’s a breakdown of how Clemson runs this play if you’re so inclined.

Fourth A&M drive

Down & Distance Formation Play Analysis
Down & Distance Formation Play Analysis
1st & 10 11 vs. 4-3 under Power handoff met in the backfield immediately, Wilkins stood up a double team and Joseph sheds a block for the tackle The TE on DE block, the single hardest part of power typically, actually goes fine here. The offensive line needs some work in the running game.
2nd & 10 12 wing (2 te to same side) vs. 4-2 Inside zone play action, Cover 2, TE smash concept, corner route broken up by Terrell Putting two receivers to the wide side of the field forced Clemson into an awkward alignment, could have been a big play
3rd & 10 2 Te empty vs. 4-2 3 man rush, Bryant dropback, cover 4 NCAA concept, post route to wood broken up by Wallace Wallace does a good job to anticipate and breakup what could have been a touchdown pass but just can't haul it in

Field goal blocked!

Clemson Ball, 5:11, Clemson 43

Bryant returns to the game, given that Clemson currently has one rushing yard it’s hard to argue the ground game could use a boost.

Fourth Clemson drive

Down & Distance Formation Play Analysis
Down & Distance Formation Play Analysis
1st & 10 11 unbalanced vs. 4-2 Zone read, Bryant keeps and falls forward for a gain of four Clemson tends to run a zone read out of unbalanced trips formation with a bubble screen to the three receiver side
2nd & 6 10 vs. 4-1 Fade/outs, Sam blitz, fire zone cover three, fade route to Higgins overthrown The offensive staff clearly liked the matchup Higgins had on the A&M corners
3rd & 6 10 vs. 4-2 Five man rush, cover one, linebacker robbing underneath, four verts, Bryant and Renfrow aren't on the same page and the pass falls incomplete Slots can either run deep on four verts or sit in their zone, Bryant thought Renfrow was supposed to keep running, Renfrow thought he was open underneath. Bailed out by a roughing the passer

Fourth Clemson drive cont.

Down & Distance Formation Play Analysis
Down & Distance Formation Play Analysis
1st & 10 20 vs. 4-2 Motion Rodgers out of the backfield, inside zone + screen, pass to Rodgers falls incomplete This is another formational tell in Clemson's offense, often if there's two backs one of them is motioning out to run a route in the flats
2nd & 10 11 vs. 4-2 Inside zone read, strong side defensive end gets washed inside, Etienne cuts outside and breaks a tackle to carry the ball to the goal line Higgins blocks his ass off out there, credit to Cade Stewart (#62) for finishing his block off strong on the backside
1st & goal 11 vs. 4-3 Both safeties at LB depth, QB power blown up in the backfield, John Simpson wasn't able to secure the A gap Clemson's guards have struggled with allowing penetration all game and it's rearing its head again.
2nd & goal 11 vs. 4-2 Inside zone handoff to Choice, gain of four The nickel isn't particularly concerned about the bubble screen in front of him, winds up making the tackle
3rd & goal 21 vs. 4-3 Five man rush, power handoff to Choice with two lead blockers, falls forward to get to the one yard line Richards doesn't block anyone on the play
4th & goal BEEF vs. Goal line Wilkins and Lawrence in the backfield, Bryant bobbles the snap and fortunately Choice is there to recover it I saw visions of Refridgetor Perry out there when the offense was lining up. Unfortunately when a shotgun team goes under center in the rain bad things can happen.

Turnover on downs

Aggie ball, 1:54, A&M 4

Fifth A&M drive

Down & Distance Formation Play Analysis
Down & Distance Formation Play Analysis
1st & 10 21 vs. 4-3 over Inside zone handoff met immediately in the backfield by a knifing Simmons Clemson has been in single high with Wallace playing deep safety for much of the half
2nd & 9 21 vs. 4-3 over Fake power, designed bootleg run, Mond is able to scramble for a gain of four The play looked broken up but credit to A&M's RB for turning around to catch the backside defensive end
3rd & 5 2 te empty vs. DOD Clemson shows pressure, JD Davis spies, Wilkins splits a double team to take a QB draw down in the backfield Jimbo is trying to run the clock down here and mostly succeeds

After receiving the ball with six seconds left on the clock Clemson hands off to Adam Choice for a ten yard gain and we’re off to halftime, Tigers lead 14-3.

Editors Note: Thanks for reading! We’ve received positive feedback on always providing film reviews for Clemson football games. We’ll continue to do so, but are discussing alternative format options. We’d like to get your thoughts on these detailed film reviews. What do you like and what could be made better?