No.21 Texas A&M Aggies opened their 2014 season in convincing fashion with a 52-28 domination of the No.9 South Carolina Gamecocks. The win by the Aggies snapped an 18-game home winning streak the Gamecocks had.
The Aggies offense was completely dominated a Gamecocks defense that lost defensive in Jadeveon Clowney this past May in the draft. Aggies Quarterback Kenny Hill posted two single game records with 44 pass completions for 511 yards. Former quarterback Johnny Manziel did have the yards record before Thursday night which he set last season. Hill also had three touchdowns through the air.
Aug 28, 2014; Columbia, SC, USA; Texas A&M Aggies wide receiver Malcome Kennedy (84) runs after making a catch during the third quarter against the South Carolina Gamecocks at Williams-Brice Stadium. Texas A&M defeated South Carolina 52-28. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports
Malcome Kennedy led the Aggies receivers with 14 receptions, and 137 yards, but failed to reach the end zone. He was followed by Josh Reynolds with six receptions for 76 yards and one touchdown, Edward Pope with four receptions for 75 yards and one touchdown, and Ricky Seals-Jones with five receptions for 67 yards and one touchdown. Freshman Speedy Noil also had a good game with 5 receptions for 55 yards.
To go along with a tremendous passing game, the Aggies also posted a combined 169 yards and four touchdowns on the ground. Trey Williams led the way with 13 carries for 78 yards and one touchdown out of the backfield. Brandon Williams followed him with 11 carries for 57 yards. Tra Carson was the Aggies touchdown machine seven carries for 30 yards and three scores.
While Hill lit the South Carolina skies up with 66 pass attempts, he was not as spectacular on the ground. He only managed five yards on seven carries, but with the arm he displayed, he might not need to run as much as Johnny Football did.
Even though the Aggies took advantage of the Gamecocks defense almost every time they had the ball, the South Carolina offense had success against the A&M defense early. Gamecocks quarterback Dylan Thompson showed that he is more than capable of replacing Connor Shaw completing 20 of 40 passes for 366 yards, four touchdowns, and one interception.
Nick Jones had a strong night catching the ball for the Gamecocks with five receptions for 113 yards and two touchdown. He was followed by Pharoh Cooper with three catches for 58 yards and one touchdown, and Rory Anderson with three receptions for 52 yards.
Damiere Byrd also had made an impact even though he did not see many balls fly his way. Byrd finished the game with only one reception for 46 yards and a touchdown. Jerell Adams also made the most of his two receptions with 40 yards.
While the Aggies made the most of their rushing opportunities, the Gamecocks struggled on the ground with a total of 22 carries for 67 yards. Brandon Wilds led the way on the with nine carries for 45 yards.
The Gamecocks top running back Mike Davis was limited to 15 yards on six carries, but did not play any after halftime. Davis had been dealing
Aug 28, 2014; Columbia, SC, USA; South Carolina Gamecocks quarterback Dylan Thompson (17) hands off to South Carolina Gamecocks running back Mike Davis (28) in the second quarter at Williams-Brice Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports
with a rib injury that he suffered during practice earlier in the week and seemed to be giving him trouble after being hit hard a couple times in the first half.
The Gamecocks were not the only ones that lost a valuable piece to their team. The Aggies lost linebacker A.J. Hilliard when he was carted off in the second half with a dislocated ankle. This could be a terrible blow to a linebacker group that is already depleted.
The Aggies also lost tight end Cameron Clear in the first half with an ankle injury. Luckily for head coach Kevin Sumlin, the loss of Clear did not slow down the Aggies offense.
The biggest problem the Aggies had on the night was their defensive penalties. If not for pass interference calls on pretty much every Gamecocks scoring drive, the score would have been a lot worse than it was. If the Aggies can iron out their defensive woes, they will be a force to be reckoned with.
Next week both teams will be in action once again. The Aggies will take on the Lamar Cardinals at newly renovated Kyle Field on Saturday while the Gamecocks face what could be another tough team when they play host to the East Carolina Pirates.