COLUMBIA — South Carolina will visit Kyle Field for the first time Saturday as they face off against Texas A&M for just the second time in program history.
Last year, the Aggies caught the nation off guard in a 52-28 dismantling of the house that Spurrier built. This year, Shawn Elliott hopes the renewed energy he has brought to the Gamecocks will put them over the top.
The Aggies started off 2015 much like they did 2014, hot and on a roll. After losing to Ole Miss and getting rolled by Alabama, last year’s Aggies limped to an 8-5 finish that included losses to two unranked opponents and a near miss against UL Monroe.
Last weekend, Ole Miss not only beat the Aggies, they showed how to shut down the Texas A&M offense altogether. While South Carolina and Ole Miss are on two very different levels defensively, the Rebels have provided a spark of hope for the Gamecocks.
Against Vanderbilt, USC struggled to defend the run but otherwise played well. Against Texas A&M, the Gamecocks will need a similar effort. That, unfortunately, has seemed to be an issue for the Gamecocks all year. Players have been called out on several occasions by both coaches and teammates for poor effort.
Should Elliott be able to get good effort and have just a little luck, the Gamecocks have shown they are capable of keeping up with the best teams in the nation.
Despite the ridiculous numbers put up by LSU, the Gamecocks were still in that game until late. The offense never looked crisp, and yet that was a one possession game at halftime and a two possession game going into the fourth quarter.
Of course, much of the Gamecocks game plan will revolve around which quarterback will start. While the Aggies try to decide who will be their quarterback, Shawn Elliott has decided to stick with Perry Orth. Orth currently leads USC with 755 passing yards and a quarterback rating of 119.
Coming off the bye week, the Gamecocks should be well rested and ready for this trip. Will that be enough to topple their new cross-division rival? That we will find out on Saturday.
The Gamecocks and Aggies will kick off Saturday at noon. The game will be televised on the SEC Network, Tru Vista channel 85.
Reach James Inabinet at 803-635-4016.