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South Carolina vs. Texas A&M report card: Bottom falls out for Gamecocks in College Station

It wasn’t that South Carolina was bad all throughout the game. It was that they were bad when they needed to be good.

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

Passing game: Jake Bentley had a good stat line, throwing for two scores and no interceptions; however, he did lose a ball on a sack in the second quarter. He still has a tendency to force throws into coverage and make bad reads, but you can barely put a good part of blame on him for the loss. A disastrous fourth quarter drive that saw him sacked twice wasn’t his fault at all and was due to a depleted offensive line that simply wore down when it mattered the most. GRADE: B-

Passing defense: South Carolina did a good job of keeping Mond from making big plays through the air as the defense held up its end of the bargain throughout much of the first three quarters. A couple of chunk plays in the fourth saw a few drives extended and eventually led to points, but all things considered, it was a good day for that part of the team. GRADE: B-/C+

Rushing offense: We knew that the Aggies’ rushing defense was going to make it tough for the Gamecocks to get yardage on the ground. Ty’Son Williams was good (14 carries, 73 yards) and looks like he may be the #1 option for the time being. The frustrating part was that the coaching staff continued to lean on the run with the team up by 10, which didn’t work out and played a part in costing them the game in the end. GRADE: C+

Rushing defense: Not bad to start, but toward the end, you could tell the defense was beginning to get tired since they were allowing Kellen Mond to make drive-extending plays with his feet, which was one of his strengths coming in. Keith Ford came on strong late and had a pair of touchdown runs to aid the comeback. GRADE: C-

Special teams: Ugh. Those Joseph Charlton punts didn’t get the job done to me. It will get lost in the greater discussion, but it gave A&M great field position to mount their comeback. The starting point for the Aggies’ fourth quarter scoring drives were their own 45 and their own 46, which speaks to an inability to flip the field and force Mond to get it done from much further back. Parker White continues to struggle but did make a shorter 26-yarder and both of his extra points. Return game did OK, while return defense bottled the Aggies up. GRADE: C-/D+

Coaching: Kurt Roper got away from what worked and stubbornly tried to run the ball instead of continuing to challenge the Aggies’ secondary. You know the rest of the story. GRADE: D-/F