Close doesn’t really count for much in college football. Texas A&M nearly beat No. 2 Clemson in Week 2, but ultimately, the Aggies missed a two-point conversion attempt that would have sent the game into overtime.

But that doesn’t mean Texas A&M isn’t heading in the right direction. The offense moved the ball up and down the field against the best defense from the ACC, and the Aggies defense played well, too.

In fact, the Texas A&M defense played so well, Clemson co-offensive coordinator Tony Elliott was still talking about it on Monday. Elliott credited Texas A&M defensive coordinator Mike Elko with a strong game plan and expects other defenses to follow his ‘blueprint’ against Clemson.

“He (Elko) did a really good job,” Elliott said according to “What he was going to do was get seven people in the box and get to a one high (safety) structure, and he wasn’t going to give you much going down the middle of the field. So you were going to have to take the things on the perimeter. With him being able to get that seventh defender in the box and blitzing the interior linebackers, he was able to contain with ends. He was basically bottling up the run game up the middle so you had to have the ability to throw the ball on the perimeter, and we just found ways to make plays.”

Clemson made just enough plays to escape with a win, 28-26, despite the fact Texas A&M nearly outgained Clemson by 100 yards, 501-413.

The Tigers gained only 52 yards in the fourth quarter.