The USC defense should consider lawyering up and suing their offense for lack of support for their role in a 30-6 loss at Texas A&M Saturday night. A season of offensive ineptitude added a new chapter in College Station with the Gamecocks producing just a mere two field goals and never getting deeper than the Aggies’ 20 while the game was still in doubt. The loss drops USC to 4-7, meaning they will not qualify for a bowl game. All that’s left is the state championship game two weeks from now in Columbia, and the Gamecocks will be huge underdogs against Clemson.
Here’s my RECAP from Kyle Field
Some of the key points in the Gamecocks’ loss to the Aggies:
- The Gamecocks rushed for just 45 yards, and 10 of those yards came from punter Joseph Charlton. Rico Dowdle was the leading rusher with 12 yards on 7 carries. USC attempted 11 first half runs, only 7 in the second half. A&M had more punt return yards, 53, than the Gamecocks had rushing yards.
- It wasn’t like quarterback Ryan Hilinski was picking apart the Aggie secondary so the decision was made to go pass heavy. He connected on 5 of his first seven passes but only 11 of his last 34. He finished 16-41 for 175 yards. Tight end Kyle Markway was his leading receiver with 5 catches on 9 targets for 46 yards.
- Bryan Edwards was declared out prior to the game with his knee injury so he was missed. Shi Smith caught a 41 yard pass that led to the Gamecocks’ first field goal in the first quarter, and had one catch for no yards the rest of the night. He was targeted 11 times.
- The Gamecocks actually did some creative things on offense in the first half, using exotic formations including offensive tackle Dylan Wonnum lining up outside as part of a trips look. They even attempted a double-pass that fell incomplete. But even with all that, the offense could not sustain drives when the game was still in doubt. There best drive early on was for that first quarter field goal, and that was 7 plays and 63 yards.
- The Gamecocks could not convert third downs. Their average distance on that play was 8.9 yards. They started 0-10 on third down conversions and finished 2-15. And that led to a big difference in ball possession, 63 plays to 79 and only 18:21 with the football.
- The Aggies more than doubled the Gamecocks in total offense, 540 yards to 260. They rushed for 319 yards with Cordarrian Richardson gaining 130 yards on 6 carries, including a 75 yard touchdown run, and Issiah Spiller adding 129 yards on 24 attempts. Quarterback Kellen Mond was solid, if not spectacular. He was 20-33 for 221 yards and 1 touchdown, a 17 yard pass to Richardson, and he rushed for 47 yards and another score.
- Linebacker TJ Brunson, the team’s second leading tackler going in, was ejected for targeting on Texas A&M’s first possession. The Gamecocks used a variety of players at linebacker and on the defensive line and for three quarters the defense kept the game in reach at 13-3. But they wilted in the fourth quarter giving up 177 yards including two long runs of 75 and 31 yards by Richardson. Jammie Robinson led the defense with 15 tackles and Ernest Jones had 13.
- Final Stats
What the Gamecocks were saying after the loss:
Will Muschamp press conference (click HERE)
TE Kyle Markway
LB Ernest Jones
RB Rico Dowdle & CB Joe Horn