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South Carolina vs. Texas A&M 2017: Five observations from Saturday’s 24-17 loss

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Believe it or not, this was probably the correct result

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

Hopefully, by now you've wiped your eyes of the aesthetically unappealing bumble fest that was South Carolina-Texas A&M. As I laid it out in our staff predictions and the "How to Watch" post, this game went exactly as I expected it to.

South Carolina's defense had another fine showing wasted by the incontinence of the offense. This is the same team Gamecock fans have watched for three weeks in a row now with no real signs of improvement.

To be fair, both fan bases walk away from this game not feeling great about much of anything. Gamecock fans take another loss where the offense looked totally inept and Aggie fans needed a comeback to beat a team they're clearly more talented than.

Either way, you slice it, I think everyone needs a sad nap after Saturday night. But before you do, here are five observations I've gathered from the 24-17 loss:

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

Offensive line... you okay?

Coming into the season the offensive line was probably the biggest area of concern for South Carolina. Through the first four weeks of the season the offensive line has certainly shown its flaws, but they haven't been detrimental to South Carolina's success.

That was not the case Saturday.

Even if you're going to grade them on a curve with Zack Bailey being out, you still can't give up seven sacks. Jake Bentley didn't know his own rear-end from the ground Saturday night he was on it so much. While I haven't studied the film yet, I'd be willing to be Bentley faced pressure on more than a third of his pass attempts.

Either Bailey needs to get back healthy or this staff needs to reconfigure the lineup because the defensive lines only get more terrifying as the season rolls along.

Jake Bentley's rut

Keeping in mind how often he was under pressure, I can't ding Bentley too much for what happened Saturday night. You can't have a QB running for his life every three passing attempts and expect him to play top-notch football.

However, even when Bentley wasn't under pressure there were some throws left on the table he should be hitting as a sophomore with a year's worth of starts under his belt. There were far too many 2nd-&-long and 3rd-&-long situations last night because Bentley would get behind the 8-ball quickly with early incompletions.

He certainly had his bright spots like the touchdown to Shi Smith, but that's been Bentley's season so far -- boom or bust. There's got to be more boom if South Carolina hopes to reach six wins this season and become bowl eligible.

Hello freshman receivers

One of the few bright spots from last night's game was the emergence of South Carolina two homegrown, freshman receivers: Shi Smith and OrTre Smith. The duo were the top-ranked recruits in the 2017 class out of the Palmetto state and showed why last night.

Both grabbed touchdowns last night and showed off their skills sets: Shi the faster, quicker target who can get behind the defense for big plays and OrTree the bigger, stronger target who can use his big frame to make contested catches in tight coverage. Both have bright futures in a Gamecock uniform.

The two of them will have to continue to produce in the absence of Deebo Samuel in order to keep this offense above water, which it barely is. It was nice to see Will Muschamp's recruits paying off early.

Two claps for the defense

South Carolina's defense is equal parts good and unappealing to watch. I leave a game confused every time I watch them play. I watch them play defense and think to myself, "they don't look good, but the metrics say otherwise -- what am I watching here?"

South Carolina only allowed 5.2 yards per play on 76 plays while being on the field for 34 minutes. Fans will complain about giving up 24 points, but that's about as well as you can ask a defense missing Bryson Allen-Williams to play against an offense that just hung 50 points on their opponent a week ago.

Kelln Mond was held to short completions and no big passes over the top of the defense. The run defense left a little to be desired, but all-in-all it was a worthy effort by the Gamecock D last night. I can't say the same for the offense.

Keep feeding Ty'son

Over the past few weeks, Ty'son Williams has established himself as the No. 1 running back in South Carolina's backfield. AJ Turner and Rico Dowdle seem non-existent at this point, but I can understand that when Williams is really the only back South Carolina has had legit success with through five games.

However, Williams only touched the ball 15 times Saturday -- that's just not nearly enough for a guy with his talents. Playcalling has been something to question over the past three games and I would like to see Williams be incorporated more into the offensive game plan.

It's not as if South Carolina couldn't run with him. Williams hit a 34-yard run and was picking up around four yards on his other carries. It was puzzling to see Kurt Roper abandon the run so early -- it'll be interesting to see how he plans to attack Arkansas' defense for this week's game.