Preview: Texas A&M Aggies vs. South Carolina Gamecocks
A battle of opposing forces
The Aggies are currently riding a deep wave. They are currently undefeated, coming off an unprecedented win against Arkansas, 45-24. They are in prime shape and ready to show their potential as the true dark horse of the SEC West. With a 4-0 record right now, riding into their game in South Carolina on a streak of success, the Aggies are experiencing the exact opposite feeling of their opponent.
Fresh off a loss to Kentucky on the road, the Gamecocks’ offense was only able to put 10 points on the board. They are attempting to regain their footing against a team that looks like it has no intention of slowing down. As much as a Gamecocks win is something their faithful fans are hoping for, the reality is that Texas A&M is on course to have the season of the century. South Carolina seems to only be a stop on that journey.
Something about Sumlin
There have been plenty of questions about Kevin Sumlin and the plan he had this season to take the Aggies from good to great. Where Texas A&M has always been a good team, something was standing in the way of them reaching their potential and taking their game to the next level. Enter John Chavis. He brought a change to the defense that was desperately needed to move up that next tick on the board. Bring in Noel Mazzone and Jim Turner. You have two people who took a transfer quarterback, an inexperienced line and an awesome receiving corps, and created a run game that is the stuff football dreams are made of. Sumlin’s job is safe, and the 12th man is happy.
The transfer that has counted
Leave it to Texas A&M to take a transfer from Oklahoma, accentuate his talents and make him a star. The coaching staff recognized that Knight has some accuracy issues, but he’s a sound decision maker. Knight has the ability to cut upfield, which worked to his advantage in the Arkansas game. Using Knight as a threat in the Aggies’ running game is a huge asset to their offensive line. When you add freshman running back Trayveon Williams, you create an offensive combination that gets things done.
The Gamecocks’ game
Let’s talk about the Gamecocks. Currently, with their 17-10 loss to Kentucky, South Carolina has dropped to 14.3 points per game. Only one team is scoring less than they do currently, which defines the issues they are having in their offense and putting points on the board. Coach Will Muschamp has some issues he has to solve to get the Gamecocks back on track. Right now, facing an opponent with a 16-point-per-game average, they are on an uphill climb.
With freshman Brandon McIlwain starting at quarterback, they are dealing with inexperience behind center. South Carolina has virtually no ground game to speak of, and the most experience they have in their receiving corps is sophomore Deebo Samuel — and he’s currently sidelined with a hamstring issue. The Gamecocks are struggling to get points, and anyone with eyes and a brain for football can understand why.
South Carolina is in a rebuilding period. They have a young group of players that are attempting to get their team to a successful place, and it’s not happening. They have won two games this season – a nailbiter to Vanderbilt where they were completely shut out in the first half but rallied to a 13-10 win and a much-needed win against East Carolina before their loss to Kentucky.
The South Carolina faithful are being realistic on this one – all predictions have the Aggies winning in a landslide, some by more than 30 points. Trying to break down numbers would be ridiculous to try to do, but this can be said: This game should be an easy win for the Aggies and a learning experience for the Gamecocks. If anything, it will give the Gamecocks some experience and assist them as they attempt to build their young team up into future contenders. It would be nice to see an upset, but in reality, this game is about time behind the line for South Carolina and preparing the Aggies for the real challenge they will have to overcome once they face the Crimson Tide of Alabama.
For those watching, this would be a prime time to see Texas A&M showcase their talent – you’ll get a chance to see all of the play that has the Aggies on a hot streak. The Gamecocks will most likely provide a prime opportunity for the Aggies to shine.