College Football Preview: Texas A&M vs No. 9 South Carolina


south carolinaCOLUMBIA, S.C. – The Southeastern Conference season opens with a match-up of Top 25 teams as the No. 21 Texas A&M Aggies travel to Columbia to face the No. 9 South Carolina Gamecocks. Texas A&M went 9-4 in 2013 capping of the season with a dramatic, come-from-behind 52-48 win over the Duke Blue Devils in the Chick-fil-A Bowl. The Gamecocks went 11-2 and knocked off Wisconsin 34-24 in the Capital One Bowl.

Both teams will have a new look offensively with the Aggies’ Johnny Manziel and South Carolina’s Connor Shaw going into the NFL.

Texas A&M will hand the reigns of a high-powered attack over to Sophomore Kenny Hill, who threw 22 passes last season and will navigate without Manziel’s favorite target Mike Evans this season. Malcome Kennedy looks to fill Evans’ shoes having hauled in 60 catches for 658 yards and seven touchdowns in 2013. Tra Carson will start at running back after a 5.3 yards per carry average and seven touchdowns last season.

The Aggies defense must improve having allowed nearly 37 points a game versus SEC foes in 2013. The defense returns five starters and may struggle to get its footing this season. The defense didn’t get much pressure on the quarterback last season and Howard Matthews brings the most tackles back with 90 last season.

Senior Dylan Thompson takes over South Carolina’s offense having some game experience coming into the season while Mike Davis will continue as the lead back. Davis is fresh off a season with 1,183 yards rushing, 11 rushing touchdowns and 34 receptions out of the backfield for another 352 yards.

The Gamecocks’ defense will be without Jadeveon Clowney and Kelcey Quarles who combined for 25 tackles for loss a season ago as well as Victor Hampton who had three picks and nine passes defensed in 2013. The unit should still be solid but will be put to the test this week.

Keys for a Texas A&M Win

Hill must push the offense and get a lead and force the Gamecocks into a game of catch-up. The defense just needs to find a way to stop an SEC offense.

Keys For South Carolina Win

The Gamecocks’ defense must step up and keep the Aggies’ spread offense from controlling the game. Thompson must be effective in the quarterback position at limiting turnovers. Davis needs 20 or more productive touches.

Key Injuries :



Latest Line, South Carolina -10.5


Both teams look for an important opening win in the SEC and it will come down to whether the Aggies’ offense or the Gamecocks’ defense is better on Thursday.

About Mark West

Mark West grew up playing and loving baseball. In college, he found an interest in writing and reporting on sports. He graduated from Arkansas State University in 1999 with a Bachelor of Science in Radio and Television Broadcasting with a News emphasis and a minor in Political Science. Mark began writing a few years ago informally about politics and sports on various blogs, but has focused primarily on baseball writing for the last two years. He loves Arkansas State Red Wolves baseball and writes about the games and the players for the Red Wolves and the Sun Belt Conference. Mark is a member of the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association, giving him official votes in the Dick Howser Trophy, Regional Players of the Year, and NCBWA All-America voting.

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