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Texas A&M outlasts South Carolina 26-23

In a game of dramatic swings, Texas A&M and Jimbo Fisher outlast the Gamecocks.

NCAA Football: Texas A&M at South Carolina Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

In the first Fisher-Muschamp edition of the Texas A&M-South Carolina rivalry, the Texas A&M Aggies came out of Columbia with a hard-fought victory. At the end of the day, A&M defeated the South Carolina Gamecocks, 26-23

Both teams entered the game with two losses and needed this win to help stabilize their season. While both teams had earned home victories the week prior, the wins were highly emotional. This game would prove to be the same.

It started off slow, as both offenses failed to find a rhythm and the defenses dominated. The first score came 10 minutes into the game as the Aggies secured a field goal after intercepting quarterback Jake Bentley in the end zone. There would be more of the same for the rest of the first half, as the Gamecocks earned only 105 total yards at halftime. The Aggies meanwhile scored another 10 points on a field goal and Kellen Mond touchdown pass to Jace Sternberger.

The Gamecocks entered halftime down 13-0, and Will Muschamp had no answers. He was going to try to figure some out during halftime. When the second half started, it appeared he hadn’t. Jimbo’s Aggies took the opening kickoff right down the field and kicked another field goal to take a 16-0 lead. Then the Gamecocks responded.

NCAA Football: Texas A&M at South Carolina Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

Bentley and crew systematically drove the ball down the field and put themselves on the board with a 22-yard touchdown pass the Shi Smith. They then converted for two points to make it a 16-8 game (weird football score but we’ll go with it). The Gamecocks used their energy, forced a punt, and drove down the field using big play after big play to score another touchdown. Bentley threw it up for Chavis Dawkins, who hauled it in for a 33-yard score. They also converted the two-point try to tie the game 16-16.

Just like that, Williams-Brice Stadium was rowdy and intense. South Carolina was back in the game and they had the momentum. Despite this, Texas A&M never wavered. The Aggies calmly drove down for another field goal to secure a 19-16 lead. South Carolina got the ball back and couldn’t do anything with it (who knew Will Muschamp teams are inconsistent on offense?).

Then came the drive of the game. With 7:21 left in the fourth quarter, Jimbo’s team embarked on an 11-play, 78-yard drive. A&M rode running backk Trayveon Williams down the field and took up 5:45 of game time. The drive ended in a Trayveon Williams touchdown. The Aggies took a 26-16 lead with 1:36 left to go and secured a big victory for Fisher. The Gamecocks scored another garbage-time touchdown, but it was inconsequential.

The Aggies had 458 yards of offense and held the Gamecocks to 299 yards of total offense. With the win, the Aggies improve on the momentum they established with their win over Kentucky. They are now 5-2 and 3-1 in the conference, while Jimbo Fisher improves to 5-1 against Will Muschamp all-time. The Gamecocks meanwhile fall to 3-3 and 2-3 in the SEC. A once-promising season for South Carolina is on the verge of completely falling apart.

Texas A&M enters the bye week on a 3-game winning streak and prepares to travel to Mississippi State in two weeks. South Carolina also enters its own bye week and looks for answers as it prepares to take on Tennessee on October 27th.