South Carolina Eliminated from Bowl Contention with Loss to Texas A&M

The South Carolina Gamecocks closed out their conference play as well as their road play on Saturday against the Texas A&M Aggies in College Station, Tex. The Gamecocks came into the game 4-6 while the Aggies entered at 7-3, winning their last three. The Gamecocks needed to win this game and their final game at home against Clemson in order to become bowl eligible, so the Gamecocks’ loss cemented that their season will be over in two weeks after the Clemson game with the 30-6 defeat to the Aggies.

South Carolina entered the game without many of its starters as Tavian Feaster, Bryan Edwards, Nick Muse, and OrTre Smith watched from the sidelined. On top of that, T.J. Brunson was ejected from the game for targeting in the first quarter, and most of the starters who did take the field Saturday night did so at less than full health. Ryan Hilinski, Shi Smith, and Rico Dowdle were all nursing injuries received earlier in the season.

The game got off to a slow start with South Carolina receiving the ball first; they failed to convert their opening drive into any points, while the Aggies came out of their first possession with a 35-yard field goal kick by Seth Small to end the 13-play drive and put the first points on the board.

South Carolina put their first points on the board as the end of the first quarter was wrapping up when Parker White kicked the ball for a 37-yard field goal, tying the game at three. That would be the last time South Carolina would score until the last possession of the game.

The Aggies dominated the next quarter when Kellen Mond connected with Cordarrian Richardson for a 17-yard touchdown. In the last drive of the quarter, Small successfully put the ball through the posts for a 30-yard field goal after missing the field goal attempt in the prior drive. The Aggies were on top going into halftime, 13-3.

The two teams came into the second half of the game with stellar defense as they only were able to exchange downs for the first six drives of the third quarter. Finally, with 10 minutes left in the fourth quarter, Small kicked a 40-yard field goal to put the first points on the board since the first half, 16-3.

In the next Texas A&M possession, Kellen Mond rushed the ball one yard to put a touchdown on the board. Two drives later, Richardson ran the ball 75 yards for another touchdown. The score was now 30-3 and would remain the same until the Gamecocks’ last drive of the game when White kicked another field goal from 39 yards out with three-and-a-half minutes to go. The game ended with Texas A&M handing South Carolina a resounding defeat to close out the Gamecocks’ conference play as well as their road games for the year.

White was the only South Carolina player to put any points up, hitting two of three field goals. Ryan Hilinski only connected on 16 of 41 passes, and he ended up leaving the game injured. Backup quarterback Dakereon Joyner completed three of four passes before he, too, was hurt. While Hilinski was unable to convert on over half of his passes, Dowdle was limited to 12 yards on seven carries and Kyle Markway put 47 receiving yards on the books. The Aggies posted more rushing yards than the Gamecocks posted total yardage for the game, and owned South Carolina the entire time.

The Aggies will finish out their season playing Georgia next week and then LSU in the final game of the season, while the Gamecocks will have a chance to recover and heal with a bye next week before facing in-state rival, Clemson, at home in Columbia, S.C.

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