Every week before every Gamecocks game, I’ll give you my keys to victory for South Carolina, as well as a prediction of the final score. Be sure to post your keys/predictions in the comments below!
This week, the Gamecocks are in College Station to take on Texas A&M. South Carolina has yet to beat the Aggies in three tries. Will that change this week?
Get a run game going. Outside of Arkansas, not many teams have had success running the ball against Texas A&M. Granted, two of those teams were Nicholls State and Louisiana, so that might have something to do with it. But the Razorbacks’ performance last week (226 yards) could be a great sign that the Aggies’ run defense can be solved. I’d like to see the Gamecocks have some success on the ground to help keep a little of the pressure off of Jake Bentley and the passing game.
Keep a close watch on Kellen Mond. Mond is one of those quarterbacks that could be poised to really go off against the Gamecocks. He only threw for 216 yards last week against the Hogs, but ran it ten times for 109 yards. The true freshman joins guys like Georgia’s Jake Fromm who are being placed under center in their first years in school this season, and by all accounts, it looks like the youngster is starting to find himself as the weeks progress. South Carolina needs to make him work and cut him off when he does try to use his feet to get out of trouble.
Keep Trayveon Williams from having a big game. Williams ran it for 203 yards and two touchdowns against UCLA in the season opener. He’s run it 28 times for 125 yards and two touchdowns in his last two appearances alone. He did miss the Louisiana game due to an injured ankle, but looked good against Arkansas all things considered. When he’s healthy, Williams is a good running back - and that’s yet another dimension of the Aggies the Gamecocks need to keep a watch on.
Quick start from the offense. The offense was...well...sluggish to start their game against LA Tech before they woke up in the fourth quarter. If they wait that long against the Aggies, they’ll be basically out of it. Bentley needs to be more accurate and needs to rein in his tendency to overshoot wide-open receivers. The running game needs to be clicking on all cylinders, whether it’s Ty’Son Williams or Rico Dowdle getting the bulk of the carries. Parker White needs to carry on the confidence from last week’s winning field goal and assert himself as the right option at kicker.
I’ve got a really bad feeling about this one. A&M 35, South Carolina 14.