Rapid Reaction: Texas A&M routs undermanned South Carolina for fourth straight win
Despite absorbing several big hits early, QB Kellen Mond held on to do enough for the Texas A&M offense to knock off South Carolina.
It resulted in the Aggies’ fourth straight victory this season and sixth straight in this series. Three Seth Small field goals and late touchdowns by Mond and Cordarrian Richardson helped Texas A&M to beat South Carolina 30-6.
Coming out of a bye week, the win sets the Aggies up with momentum heading to Georgia next week. After a week of questions around Will Muschamp’s future, and statements from the university president and athletics director, the shorthanded Gamecocks couldn’t find offensive rhythm as several key players were out with injuries.
It was reminiscent of QB Ryan Hilinski’s performance against Missouri as he misfired on several throws. The third down struggles reached such a low that the Gamecocks didn’t convert their first one until midway through the fourth quarter, and by that point they were just 1-for-11.
Once the Aggies got the ball back, Richardson raced 75 yards for a touchdown. That gave the Aggies over 300 yards rushing.
On a night where the Gamecocks were shorthanded, they suffered another one to backup QB Dakereon Joyner, who took a tough hit over the middle from DB Demani Richardson that was reviewed, but not confirmed, for targeting. Joyner had to be helped off the field with less than four minutes remaining.
After the teams exchanged field goals in the first half, Mond found Richardson for a 17-yard touchdown on a wheel route early in the second quarter. The Aggies then tacked on another field goal at the end of the first half.
Isaiah Spiller had an early burst with nine carries for 61 yards in the first half, including one run for 20 yards.
South Carolina in the first half struggled except for a few big plays. The Gamecocks were 0-for-6 on third down conversions in first half. Punter Joseph Charlton turned a would-be blocked punt into a 10-yard run to get a first down near the end of the first half.
In the third quarter, South Carolina had just 22 yards and averaged two yards per play. By that point in the game, the Gamecocks were 0-for-9 on third down. Texas A&M held a nearly 3-to-1 edge in time of possession as the Gamecocks entered the fourth quarter with just 12:56 of possession compared with 32:04 for the Aggies.
The Aggies also had a big edge in yardage, 386-148 when they kicked another field goal early in the fourth quarter to make it 16-3. The biggest indictment of the South Carolina offense was Charlton was tied for the rushing yardage lead well into the fourth quarter. Rico Dowdle barely edged him out in rushing, 12 yards to 10.
From the outset, the Gamecocks missed several key players out with injuries. Leading WR Bryan Edwards was on the sidelines, but not in uniform to play after a knee injury that flared up last week kept him out. That was on top of other offensive players out with injury including RB Tavien Feaster RB OrTre Smith, RB/DB A.J. Turner, RB Mon Denson, WR Josh Vann, WR Randrecous Davis and TE Nick Muse.
What’s more, early in the game, South Carolina LB T.J. Brunson was ejected for targeting on a hit where he stuck the crown of his helmet into the chest of Mond.
That left the Gamecocks to start the game at receiver with Shi Smith, Chavis Dawkins and Xavier Legette. But their rushing effort, which had 21 yards last week in the loss to App State, mustered just 28 in the first half.