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Gamecocks ground up by No. 17 Texas A&M in 44-14 loss

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Well that was thoroughly demoralizing.

NCAA Football: South Carolina at Texas A&M Maria Lysaker-USA TODAY Sports

The South Carolina Gamecocks brought absolutely nothing with them to College Station on Saturday night, barely managing to avoid a shutout in a miserable 44-14 loss to No. 17 Texas A&M.

Things got off to a bad start for the Gamecocks, as they quickly went three-and-out on the game’s first possession and then gave up a 95-yard punt return touchdown to A&M’s Ainias Smith. While South Carolina again came up empty on its next drive, Jaylan “MVP” Foster picked off Zach Caldaza to set the Gamecocks up near midfield. Unfortunately, the USC offense did its usual go-backwards routine, nearly coughing up a fumble on a bad snap and finally being forced to punt it away again.

The Aggies started to get Isaiah Spiller and their ground game going, and while the Gamecocks’ Zacch Pickens forced a fumble that Damani Staley recovered, Spiller was ultimately ruled down on the replay. A couple plays later, though, Caldaza nailed Jalen Wydermyer on a 25-yard scoring strike to put the Aggies up 14-0 as the first quarter drew to a close.

Continuing a familiar theme, the Gamecocks punted it right back to A&M on their next possession — and Wydermyer again got the best of them, this time taking a screen pass 28 yards to the house to push A&M’s advantage to 21-0. Unfortunately, the Aggies continued to pour it on, with Spiller capping another successful drive with a 1-yard plunge that made it 28-0. A&M added a 32-yard field goal to bring a 31-0 lead into the locker room, while the Gamecocks closed the half with only 11 yards of offense.

The Aggies resumed their scoring ways after the break, tacking on another field goal to push the lead to 34-0 early in the third quarter. South Carolina got a spark on special teams when the Gamecocks blocked another A&M field goal attempt, but the offense continued to stall and Devon Achane got in on the rushing fun for the Ags with a 35-yard scoring scamper to close the third quarter up 41-0.

Texas A&M opened the final stanza with another field goal, going up 44-0. The Gamecocks then finally got in the scoring column when backup quarterback Jason Brown entered the game, finding the end zone courtesy of a MarShawn Lloyd 9-yard touchdown — his first in Garnet and Black. South Carolina got another garbage time score to close the game when Brown fired a 12-yard pass to Traevon Kinion to make it 44-14.

The Gamecocks (4-4) now blessedly get a bye week before hosting Florida.