The Gamecocks drop to 2-3 (1-3) on the season with the 24-13 home defeat to #10 Texas A&M. Carolina started fast at home again, but miscues on special teams and offensive struggles kept them from pulling the upset over the Aggies.
Defense plays well
Heading into the game, the defense had a tough test. They passend that test, holding A&M to only 24 points in regulation. Three of those points were also a gift given by special teams off a muffed punt at the end of the game. The points tied A&M’s lowest score in regulation on the season (24 vs UCLA). The Gamecocks also did not allow a passing touchdown, preventing Aggies QB Trevor Knight from finding the end zone through the air for the first time this season. As of now, Carolina is only giving up 18.6 points per game. That is a great number considering the lack of help from the offense so far this season. The defense also forced another pair of turnovers today, running the total up to nine on the season. As he has done throughout his whole career, Will Muschamp has done a great job with the defense through five games.
Good day for the running backs and tight ends
A.J. Turner had another fantastic start to a home game today. After his kickoff return against ECU a few weeks ago, Turner made the early impact again, taking the first handoff 75 yards into the end zone to put the Gamecocks up early. Turner finished the game with 134 yards rushing and receiving on 14 touches. Rico Dowdle had an impressive afternoon, picking up 47 on the ground on only nine carries. With WRs Deebo Samuel and Bryan Edwards out for the Gamecocks, the TEs picked up their play. Hayden Hurst had 90 yards on five catches and KC Crosby added another 51 yards on four catches. These two groups were the standouts of the offense. But the Carolina offense wasted field position set up by the defense and only ran three plays the whole game inside the A&M red zone, two of which were sacks.
It was a terrible day on special teams for the Gamecocks. Two muffed punts, losing one to effectively kill the game, and a pair of missed FGs by Elliot Fry made Carolina lose the special teams battle. The best play of the day on special teams was a fake punt pass by Sean Kelly that went for 36 yards. He was Carolina’s leading passer until Perry Orth passed that mark about five minutes into fourth quarter. The fake would only set up a FG, which was missed by Elliot Fry.
Carolina drops under .500 on the year and to 1-3 in conference. In a game where many feared a thirty point thumping, USC showed up ready to play and gave A&M all they wanted. No time is needed to be spent on the QB situation as it is the same as it was and probably will be the whole season, so it’s time to move on to next week for the first night game at Williams-Brice of the season against Georgia. The Bulldogs submitted their contender for most heartbreaking defeat of the year with their last-second loss to Tennessee. After this latest defeat, Georgia is reeling big time, which may be the perfect time to welcome them to Columbia.