In the opening game of the college football season, Texas A&M traveled to South Carolina for an early SEC matchup. The Aggies won 52-28 in a hostile Williams-Brice stadium, ending South Carolina’s streak of 18 home wins, which was the longest streak in the nation. It was an absolute breakout performance for Aggie’s quarterback Kenny Hill, who torched the Gamecocks and broke Johnny Manziel’s school record for single game passing yards in the process.
South Carolina came into the game ranked No. 9, with some saying this is one of the most talented teams Coach Steve Spurrier has had since coming to Columbia. Texas A&M came in with a lot more uncertainty without their Heisman winning QB Johnny Manziel. Kenny Hill was the man brought in to replace the polarizing ex-Aggie, and he did not disappoint in his first start.
The first half started with Texas A&M being marched down the field by their new QB. On the very first drive, Hill went 4/5, converting on two third downs and scoring a touchdown. The Aggies were very pumped up coming into the game, as they also had a great opening drive on defense, forcing South Carolina to punt. Carolina eventually responded with a great deep throw by senior Dylan Thompson, who replaced another current Cleveland Brown in Connor Shaw.
The Gamecocks defense had no answers for the Aggie offense all half, and Hill piled up the stats, going 27/35 for 299 yards and two touchdowns. Carolina was only able to muster 14 points on two different really nice deep throws from Thompson. Outside of the two deep touchdowns, the only offense the Gamecocks could get going was some solid running from Mike Davis. Davis was a question mark coming into the game, recovering from a rib injury. As a result, he was not used much, but when he was he showed his power. The first half ended 31-14, with the away team coming into a hostile environment and showing they are contenders in the SEC.
Texas A&M came out in the second half still firing, opening up the half by forcing South Carolina into a three and out, and then adding another passing touchdown. The next two drives went much better for the Gamecocks, as they were able to get back within striking distance. South Carolina was finally able to stop Hill and the A&M offense late on in the third quarter at a huge moment down 45-28. They were not able to take advantage of that big stop, as Thompson threw a long pick at the worst possible time. Kenny Hill and the A&M offense continued to march down the field after the pick, and just extended their lead on the night. Hill ended the night going 44/60 for 511 yards and three touchdowns, setting the school record for single game passing yards.
For the Aggies to come into Columbia and shock the Gamecocks like this was a huge statement for a team with a lot of question marks coming into the season. Texas A&M put up 680 total yards on offense, which was the most South Carolina has ever given up. For the Gamecocks, this was a huge blow to a team with high expectations coming into this year. The Gamecocks will need to improve a lot after this loss, as they have another SEC rival in Georgia coming to town in two weeks.
Texas A&M going into South Carolina and beating them so thoroughly was a huge statement. The entire night the Gamecocks had no answers on defense for the Aggies and it showed in the final score of 52-28.
Commentary by Max Petkevicius