Things are suddenly starting to turn around a bit for the Texas A&M Aggies.
After a fairly underwhelming nonconference slate featuring a massive blown loss to UCLA, the Aggies have opened SEC play with victories over Arkansas last week and South Carolina this week, as they knocked off the Gamecocks, 24-17 in College Station.
The night got off to a pretty... crappy start, as none of the toilets at Kyle Field worked. That’s not a joke or metaphor, either.
A&M press box announces there's no running water at Kyle Field. If you need to use the restroom, you have to leave the stadium.— Ben Baby (@Ben_Baby) October 1, 2017
A&M had South Carolina all backed up on the field in the first quarter, as well. The Gamecocks managed just 18 yards in the quarter, 17 of which came via the running game. A&M had 97 total yards, but were still held scoreless in the opening frame.
It wouldn’t last long, as Trayveon Williams punched it in from a yard out early in the second quarter to get the Aggies on the board.
Jake Bentley and the Gamecocks would answer in pretty spectacular fashion.
After a couple completions to open the drive, Bentley dialed up a beautiful deep ball to Shi Smith, who broke free of coverage. Watch it for yourself!
Bentley had a very strong game in the loss, going 17-30 for 256 yards and two touchdowns and no interceptions. It’s certainly a step in the right direction for the sophomore’s development.
South Carolina would tack on a field goal to go into the half leading 10-7.
After getting the ball to start the half, the Aggies had another drive stall out and had to punt. Bentley and the Gamecocks moved the ball down the field and tacked on another touchdown, this time to OrTre Smith, to extend the lead to 17-7.
Suddenly in desperate need of a score, A&M went three-and-out, and the panic level in College Station reached a high point. To its credit, the A&M defense got a three-and-out of its own, and Kellen Mond and Keith Ford were able to move the ball down the field for a drive ending in a 46 yard Daniel LaCamera field goal to cut the deficit to 17-10 heading into the fourth quarter.
After getting the ball back early in the quarter, it looked like Mond and Company flipped a switch. Suddenly they were moving the ball effortlessly, as Ford’s seven-yard rushing touchdown knotted the game up with 12 minutes to play. A quick three-and-out and 17-yard touchdown for Ford later, the Aggies had their first lead of the game. They wouldn’t give it up, either, as they ultimately won, 24-17.
Ford and Mond combined for 28 carries and 165 yards (5.9 YPC), along with Ford’s pair of touchdowns. The rushing attack looked pretty incredible for the second straight week. Will it continue next week when the Alabama Crimson Tide come to College Station? Maybe not to this extent, but the Aggies should at least be able to put up more points than Vanderbilt or Ole Miss did.
Meanwhile for South Carolina, things are starting to snowball. The A&M defense sacked Jake Bentley seven times, with Otaro Alaka and Landis Durham (DE) having two each. Alaka finished with five TFLs on the night. The Gamecocks (3-2, 1-2) head to Neyland Stadium to face the downtrodden Tennessee Volunteers next week.