BATON ROUGE, La. -- Micheal Clemons thought it was over. It had to be as the clock kept ticking away in the final minute Saturday night.
Texas A&M held a 24-20 lead, and Clemons came up with what was thought to be a game-sealing sack. A loss of seven by LSU's Max Johnson set up a third-and-11, and the Tigers were losing steam.
Two plays later, Johnson found wide receiver Jack Bech for 11 yards and the first down. LSU was locked and loaded, while the protection held the remainder of the drive. Five plays later on third-and-10, Johnson found Jaray Jenkins for a 28-yard touchdown and the lead.
Clemons wanted the game to be over on second down. So did A&M fans everywhere. Instead, it was over on that touchdown in a 27-24 loss at Tiger Stadium for the No. 15 Aggies (8-4, 4-4 SEC).
"We do this every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday with preparation," Clemons said postgame. "It's just preparation."
Clemons finished with a career-high four sacks, as A&M had seven on the evening. His penetration left Johnson flustered and LSU (6-6, 3-5) without answers on several drives.
For most of the season, the attention has been on fellow standout pass-rusher Tyree Johnson. But it was Clemons who erupted in what would be his final regular season game of his A&M career.
"Micheal plays his heart out," A&M coach Jimbo Fisher said. "He puts his heart and soul into everything he does. He's had a tremendous year."
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Clemons became a household name in 2020. In five games, he recorded a team-high four sacks, including 1.5 in the season opener against Vanderbilt. Ankle surgery knocked out the defensive end for the remainder of the season.
Clemons entered Death Valley with 3.5 sacks on the campaign. He left with 7.5. With the bowl game remaining, he could add more should he elect to play instead of opt-out and prepare for the NFL Draft.
A 2017 recruit, Clemons remains one of the veterans and oldest players on the roster. He sees the growth of young players such as linebacker Edgerrin Cooper and cornerback Tyreek Chappell. Although he leaves, the defense will remain in good hands under the next crop of talent.
"Everything that they did this year, they'll be able to bring over next year," Clemons said. "It's a more experienced group. That'll only lead to bigger success."
Clemons pounded his chest when he took Johnson to the turf for the last time. Most of Tiger Stadium booed, as it appeared the Aggies were on the verge of winning.
If only Clemons and the Aggies could have made one more stop.
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