The South Carolina Gamecocks were tied with the Texas A&M Aggies 21-21 at halftime, but an early 3rd quarter touchdown and a pick-six was just enough for the Aggies as they held on to win, 35-28, at Kyle Field.
The first half was a shootout. After Kyler Murray found Josh Reynolds from ten yards out to make it 7-0 with 6:42 left in the first, the Gamecocks responded on the ensuing drive, capped by a pretty reverse by Lorenzo Nunez to tie it up with 1:52 remaining. They would jump ahead 14-7 on their next drive, a score that was set up by a 66-yard run by Perry Orth. A&M would later pick apart the Gamecocks' defense and tie it with 6:17 left, but the teams would trade scores after that to make it a 21-21 game at the break. However, South Carolina was gashed for 383 yards - 230 on the ground - as Murray ran it for 116 yards on just 12 carries and Tra Carson picked up 89 yards on 12 carries of his own. Murray was also an efficient 13 for 18 for 153 yards and a touchdown in the first 30 minutes.
Things looked like they would get away from the visitors in the second half. The Aggies drove down the field on their first possession of the third quarter, and eleven plays and 81 yards later, Kyler Murray ran it in on a keeper on fourth and goal at the 1 to make it 28-21, the eventual game winner. Next Gamecocks drive: a pick-six thrown to Donovan Wilson to run it up to 35-21. But South Carolina got it back on a 33-yard run by Brandon Wilds to pull back within seven late in the 3rd. After forcing three Aggie punts in a row (and failing to score on their own ensuing drives), the Gamecocks made it interesting when they got the ball back with 1:28 left - but went out with a whimper as they went sack-sack-incomplete-interception.
Murray outdueled Orth in his first career start - finishing 20 for 28 for 223 yards through the air and racking up 156 yards on the ground on 20 attempts. Tra Carson ended with 122 yards on 21 carries. For the Gamecocks, Orth was 15 for 24 with 192 yards, but threw two picks, the interception returned for a touchdown by Wilson and on their final drive in the fourth quarter. Wilds ended up with 128 yards on 17 carries and scored twice. Pharoh Cooper was quiet, making just four catches for 22 yards.
South Carolina falls to 3-5 on the season and has four games left, starting with a visit next Saturday to Tennessee. That's a 4:00 start at Neyland Stadium.