Texas A&M football: 5 reasons Aggies can't sleep on South Carolina
It’s the home stretch of the 2019 football season and most in Aggieland are looking forward to the big road games coming up. The Aggies close the regular season with huge matchups on the road against top 5 teams Georgia and LSU.
All eyes will be on those major challenges and Aggieland just can’t wait to see and measure the progress of the program as Jimbo Fisher winds up Year 2.
But hold on, there’s another game to be played before those, and it’s this Saturday at Kyle Field. In the final home game of the season, the Aggies welcome in an up-and-down 4-6 South Carolina team that this season handed Georgia its only loss (in Athens, no less) and last Saturday lost to Appalachian State at home.
That’s one reason not to sleep on South Carolina, here are 5 more.
1. The Gamecocks have their backs against the wall
We have all seen what South Carolina is capable of. Beating Georgia on its home field is no small task. But the Gamecocks possess the talent to win those types of games, and Saturday will be another of those types of games. After losing to Appalachian State on Saturday, the Gamecocks put themselves in a precarious position as far as the postseason is concerned. At 4-6, they have to beat Texas A&M on Saturday and then upset arch-rivals Clemson to become bowl eligible. So while the Aggies, having already secured a spot in the postseason, would certainly like to put this one in the win column before their mammoth finales, South Carolina is in a far more dire situation and absolutely must win Saturday.
2. When right, South Carolina can beat anyone
We’ve already discussed their biggest victory of the season, a 20-17 double-overtime victory over a Georgia team that controls its own fate to the SEC Championship Game. But the Gamecocks also have SEC victories this season over Kentucky and Vanderbilt. So which Gamecocks team we get on Saturday remains to be seen. But if the Aggies are in any way overlooking them, and who could blame them if they did with the 2 season-enders coming up, they might just find themselves licking their wounds much like the Bulldogs before them.
3. South Carolina is due
The Gamecocks are 0-5 against Texas A&M. Included are 2 close victories at Kyle Field. Texas A&M has won by a touchdown in both meetings at Kyle Field over South Carolina. The Aggies won 35-28 in the initial matchup in 2015 and 24-17 in 2017. Last season, the Aggies escaped with a 26-23 victory in Columbia. So the Gamecocks inched even closer to their first victory over Texas A&M. Can they finally get over the hump Saturday? They will surely use that as motivation.
4. QB Ryan Hilinski
Fourth in the SEC in passing with 2,077 yards, just behind Texas A&M’s Kellen Mond (2,214), Ryan Hilinski will keep the Gamecocks in the game with his arm. Already with 3 300-yard passing games, including a 324-yard performance against Alabama, Hilinski can be incredibly accurate as well. He has 3 games this season in which he completed 75% or better of his passes. South Carolina won all 3. As he goes, so go the Gamecocks.
5. Kicker Parker White
The Gamecocks’ kicker has been nearly perfect inside 50 yards. In addition to making all 25 extra-point attempts, Parker White is 14-of-15 on field-goal attempts within 50 yards, including a dead-eye 6-for-6 from 40-49 yards out. If it’s a close game, and the teams have played a few of those, White could be the difference and provide the Gamecocks with the ultimate advantage.