Following a brutal 34-12 loss to the Missouri Tigers last weekend, the University of South Carolina Gamecock football team is on the road again this Saturday – journeying to College Station, Texas for a fight with the Texas A&M Aggies.
Against elevated expectations, the Gamecocks have limped to a 2-5 record so far, and are now careening into the abyss with supporters of the program sounding off on the sad situation.
Injuries have taken a huge toll on the program. With last year’s leading receiver Antwane “Juice” Wells still out of the lineup, fellow wideout Xavier Legette has taken over as the team’s primary receiving threat – amassing 736 receiving yards and three touchdowns. However, Legette sustained an upper-body injury last weekend against Missouri (on a special teams play), and is officially listed as “questionable” for Saturday’s tilt in Texas.
Regardless of South Carolina’s losses, Gamecock quarterback Spencer Rattler has dominated this season, completing 70.8 percent of his passes for 1,941 yards and 11 touchdowns.
The problem? Through seven games, Rattler has been sacked thirty times – which is only one sack less than he endured during the entire thirteen-game campaign a year ago.
South Carolina head coach Shane Beamer is well aware of the challenges the Gamecock offense may face against the Aggies’ defense.
“We are starting two true freshmen on the offensive line,” Beamer said in Tuesday’s press conference. “The hardest thing to do as a true freshman is to play on the line of scrimmage, particularly in the offensive line.”
Will South Carolina’s offensive line survive against Texas A&M?
(Click to view)
Doubtful. The Aggies have recorded twenty-nine sacks through their first seven games, tying them with tenth-ranked Penn State for the national lead with 4.14 sacks per game. Meanwhile, South Carolina’s thirty sacks allowed is tied with Northwestern for fifth worst in the entire country.
In a sport where games are won or lost in the trenches, that is the worst possible matchup imaginable.
Although Texas A&M (4-3, 2-2 SEC) had lost its previous two games headed into a bye week on October 21, head coach Jimbo Fisher said in a press conference this week that his team has made some changes in preparation for the upcoming game.
“We had to tune up little things,” Fisher said. “(We) Had three really good, energetic, really physical practices. The guys did a good job and look forward to getting back to our game week to play South Carolina.”
The 10th game between South Carolina and Texas A&M is set to kick off at 12:00 p.m. EST this Saturday (October 28, 2023) at Kyle Field in College Station, Texas. The game will be televised on ESPN and the SEC Network. Despite losing 30-24 at Williams-Brice Stadium last year, the Aggies enjoy an 8-1 overall record against the Gamecocks – including a humiliating 48-3 drubbing in 2020 that wound up as the nail in former head coach Will Muschamp’s coffin at Carolina.
The home team is favored to win by 15.5 points with an over/under set at 53.5. ESPN’s matchup predictor gives South Carolina only a 15.4 percent chance of pulling off the upset.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR …
Erin Parrott is a Greenville, S.C. native who graduated from J. L. Mann High School in 2021. She is currently a junior at the University of South Carolina majoring in broadcast journalism. Got feedback or a tip for Erin? Email her here.
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