Lone Star struggles: Gamecocks shut down in blowout loss to Texas A&M

·3 min read

The smattering of maroon-topped, cowboy-hatted students situated just below the press box at Kyle Field erupted in commotion.

“Beat the hell out of South Carolina” they echoed in chorus with a smidge of coaxing from the Texas A&M yell leaders situated at the foot of the north bleachers.

Mission accomplished.

Saturday, South Carolina was outworked, outgunned and overrun in No. 17 Texas A&M’s 44-14 annihilation of first-year head coach Shane Beamer’s squad.

The Gamecocks, to their credit, had shown signs of life in recent weeks. They found ways to smooth out an effective ground game against Tennessee. They charged to a shocking last-second win over Vanderbilt seven days ago.

But on Saturday in Aggieland, Jimbo Fisher’s squad that’s only two weeks removed from an upset of then-No. 1 Alabama mowed over South Carolina like a combine cruising through a wheat field.

Texas A&M tight end Jalen Wydermeyer raced up, around and over the South Carolina secondary throughout Saturday’s first half. Wydermeyer — who had already notched eight catches for 114 yards and two touchdowns in his first two games against USC — recorded a pair of touchdown receptions of 25 and 28 yards, respectively, to vault the Aggies to a 31-0 halftime lead.

Struggling through first quarters against teams not named Vanderbilt or Eastern Illinois, South Carolina’s offense was downright anemic in College Station. The Gamecocks finished the first half with just 11 yards of offense and only two first downs, one of which came via penalty. USC has also now been outscored 56-6 in the first quarter of SEC road games this season.

Slogging out of halftime, South Carolina lacked much, if any tangible offensive competence. The Gamecocks watched its total yardage mark bottom out at six yards late in the third quarter. It took until just over nine minutes remaining in the fourth quarter before USC found its first third down conversion on its 11th try.

The Gamecocks didn’t even find a first down in the second half until ZaQuandre White scampered for a 20-yard game in the final frame and were outgained 463-15 through three quarters.

Running back MarShawn Lloyd gave South Carolina a brief gasp of positivity with his 9-yard touchdown scamper, before backup quarterback Jason Brown watched his underthrown pass in the back left corner of the Texas A&M end zone get picked off by Tyreek Chappell.

Brown capped USC’s next drive by again sailing his pass into Aggie hands as Deuce Harmon stepped in front of the ball and gifted Texas A&M one last possession in Saturday’s boat race.

South Carolina has shined in spurts this fall. It showed guts finding ways to win against Vanderbilt and East Carolina. It even scored the first touchdown of the year against what’s been a monstrous Georgia defense.

Saturday, though, was different.

Texas A&M didn’t just beat the hell out of South Carolina in College Station. On a cool evening in Southeast Texas, the Gamecocks were swallowed up by a sea of maroon and white and sent crashing back down to earth.

First down

MarShawn Lloyd recorded the only score of South Carolina’s night. Lloyd, who didn’t play last season due to a torn ACL, was rated a top-60 recruit coming out of high school and is among the highest-rated USC has secured in recent years.

Lloyd’s 9-yard touchdown scamper in Saturday’s fourth quarter was the first score of his career.

Offsides

South Carolina is now 0-8 all-time against Texas A&M. The teams started playing annually for the James Bonham trophy in 2014 after the Aggies joined the SEC.

USC has lost its last three games against Texas A&M by an average of 33 points.

Key numbers

11 — The number of South Carolina first half yards

1 — the number of third downs converted by the South Carolina offense

15 — The Gamecocks’ total yardage mark after three quarters Saturday in College Station

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