A foot injury to senior quarterback Jake Bentley. Losses to North Carolina and Appalachian State. A public statement of confidence for Will Muschamp.
Safe to say, things haven’t gone exactly well for the South Carolina Gamecocks this season. Sitting at 4-6 on the season with games against Texas A&M and Clemson remaining, it certainly seems like the Gamecocks will miss a bowl game for the first time since 2015, Steve Spurrier’s final season at the helm.
Ryan Hilinski has certainly shown flashes of positive play this season, coming into this game with 11 touchdowns to four interceptions and just over 2,000 passing yards, but he has also looked like a true freshman at times, which certainly hasn’t helped the Gamecocks. Last week was one of those times, as Hilinski went 32-57 for 325 yards and one touchdown in the 20-15 loss to Appalachian State. In the fourth quarter, the South Carolina offense sprang to life after struggling for most of the game, with Hilinski leading a scoring drive to make it 20-15, then getting the Gamecocks to the App State 9, but South Carolina couldn’t finish the job.
So now, the Gamecocks have to head to College Station, a place they’ve never won, to face Jimbo Fisher’s Texas A&M Aggies (6-3, 3-2), a team they’ve never beaten. Yikes.
It’s been a bit of a strange year for A&M, as well. After being ranked #12 in the season’s first AP Poll, losses to Clemson, Auburn, and Alabama have taken the Aggies out of the poll entirely. They face South Carolina before heading to Georgia and LSU to end the season, and a loss to the Gamecocks heading into those games could certainly spell disaster.
These teams are fairly even on offense, but A&M’s stellar pass defense could be its saving grace against Hilinski and the Gamecocks. A&M allows just 193 passing yards per game and has ten interceptions this season, and eight different Aggies have recorded a pick this year.
How to watch or stream
Time: 7:30 p.m. ET
TV: SEC Network
Streaming: WatchESPN (Where available)