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South Carolina Gamecocks vs. Texas A&M Aggies: Game Balls

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The standouts from Saturday’s tough loss

NCAA Football: Texas A&M at South Carolina Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

It wasn't the massive upset we were hoping for, but you'd be remiss not to see signs of positive growth and develop from the Gamecocks in their well contested 24-13 loss to the Aggies Saturday afternoon.


GAME BALLS

Darius English & the Defense

Coming off a tremendous performance in Lexington, the senior DE posted the Gamecocks’ lone sack this afternoon - a huge sack/fumble when his team was desperate for a big play.

Outside of English, there were standouts all across the board for the Gamecock defense as they did their best to stifle a potent A&M attack. Kudos to D.J. Smith, Jonathan Walton, Bryson Allen-Williams, Kier Thomas, Chris Lammons and others.

Carolina held Trevor Knight and company to just 24 points and 422 yards, well below their previous 43 ppg and 545 ypg averages.

With the USC offense struggling to get things going, their defensive counterparts gave them a chance until the end. Really impressed by this bunch.

NCAA Football: Texas A&M at South Carolina Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

A.J. Turner

No. 25 started things off with a bang, a 75-yard touchdown dash on the first play from scrimmage - the perfect stereo companion o his 80-yard return to open the game against ECU.

Following his touchdown sprint, Turner found little room to run in the early - totaling just 86 yards by halftime.

With the offense's resurgence under Perry Orth in the 4th quarter (more on that later), the elusive Virginia native was able to find his legs again. The RS freshman finished with 113 yards on 10 carries, along with 4 catches for 22 yards - the first 100-yard game of his young career.

Note: I see you, Rico Dowdle, and your 5.2 ypc. Chavis Dawkins and your five catches too.

NCAA Football: Texas A&M at South Carolina Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

Perry Orth

Having not seen the field since Sept. 10 in Starkville, Orth entered the game in the fourth quarter when his team needed a spark in the worst way.

The RS SR immediately injected life into the offense, marching down the field to just-missed field goal from the Elliot Fry.

The offense looked crisp and quick with Orth at the helm - certainly not a knock against Brandon McIlwain, who had his moments but was on the run much of the day.

Orth’s situation might give you cause for concern. It’s understandable to think being benched in favor of a true freshman might affect your psyche and confidence, especially in a position of which much is expected.

Alas, the Ponte Vedra native remained unshaken despite his circumstances and played well enough to bring the Gamecocks within striking distance in the final quarter.