Rapid reaction: Gamecocks’ home streak snapped, questions aplenty

NCAA Football: Texas A&M at South Carolina

Here’s a couple of quick thoughts on South Carolina’s 52-28 loss to Texas A&M:

What it means: Where do we start? The Gamecocks’ lofty expectations as the preseason Eastern Division favorites were way overblown and the 18-game home winning streak is over in convincing fashion. South Carolina has noticeable issues at all three levels of its defense and a reshuffling at several positions could be in order.

What I liked: South Carolina’s receivers not named Shaq Roland found openings in space and made plays against Texas A&M’s secondary despite a size disadvantage. Damiere Byrd, Nick Jones and Pharoh Cooper combined for 217 yards receiving and four touchdowns. Jones opened South Carolina’s scoring with a 69-yard touchdown reception and later added a nifty grab in the corner of the end zone late in the third quarter.

What I didn’t like: Lorenzo Ward’s game plan defensively. South Carolina surrendered a school-record 677 yards, embarrassing for a stingy unit that gave up just 196.2 yards per game last season. The Gamecocks were caught out of position often on the boundary and were beaten down the seam by a faster, more efficient offense. In the first half especially, there appeared to be several breakdowns in communication before the snap. South Carolina’s pass rush was nearly non-existent and as a result, Texas A&M quarterback Kenny Hill dissected the Gamecocks at the back end.

Key Play: Tra Carson’s 2-yard touchdown burst with 1:16 left in the second quarter gave the Aggies a 31-14 lead and dropped the Gamecocks to the canvas. Trailing 45-28 near the end of the third quarter, Dylan Thompson’s interception on third-and-1 sealed it.

What’s next: South Carolina hosts East Carolina next week, a pass-heavy offense led by highly-decorated senior quarterback Shane Carden. It won’t get any easier for an inexperienced secondary.

This button delivers the best SEC football stories to you on Facebook


You must be logged in to post a comment. Please sign in or register

  • What was the bigger story, the Aggie offense or the Gamecock defense?

    • Definitely the (lack of) Gamecock defense. Out of position all night. No pressure. HORRIBLE tackling. And way to much cushion given by the secondary. I quit counting the number of times I saw the secondary giving the wideouts 10+ yards of cushion. Thee 3-4 needs to go back into hiding. Hell, coach Ward needs to first practice tackling drills all week this coming week.

  • Probably the Gamecock defense. No one doubted that Kevin Sumlin’s offense would score a lot of points, but this South Carolina defense looked miles away from where it was only a season ago (and not in a good way)

  • Carolina looking at a very possible 0-3 start.They have a ways to go to be a Decent team.

  • Do you think they would scrap the 3-4 after just one game? There are other pass heavy teams in the East. A&M just had too many talented receivers to throw too, not many other teams will have that kind of depth at receiver.

    • I’ve got a feeling that they will scrap the 3-4, maybe not after just one game. The three down linemen had zero effectiveness with pressure, granted a 4th down lineman may not change that but it also wouldn’t hurt it either. I’m willing to bet, if they go with 3-4 against ECU and end up with the same results, we’ll see the 4-3 back against UGA. I still think the 3-4 will be very short lived for the Gamecocks. I don’t see that sticking around.