Texas A&M pulled away in the fourth quarter to beat South Carolina 24-13 on the road. Here are five takeaways from the Aggies’ win at Williams-Brice Stadium:
Bad decisions were one reason Trevor Knight lost his job at Oklahoma
To be clear, Trevor Knight does a lot well for Texas A&M, but bad Knight is a constant fear. First, after losing a fumble on a scramble in the third quarter, Knight followed it up with a bad interception into double coverage on the next drive (his first in SEC play). The plays stopped A&M from building on the momentum of its opening touchdown and gave South Carolina the worst thing you can in a trap game: hope. To put the cherry on top, Knight decided to throw on a broken play when all the Aggies had to do was milk the clock with 2:33 left. A&M emerged unscathed, but you won’t get the same result against teams like Alabama in the future.
Leaving Myles Garrett at home to get healthy may prove to be one of Kevin Sumlin’s smartest moves this season
Texas A&M created an incredible amount of pressure on Perry Orth and Brandon McIlwain, which may have proved to be the difference in the game. The Aggies were keyed in to the Gamecocks’ snap count and subsequently got into the backfield in key situations. South Carolina isn’t one of Texas A&M’s tougher games this season, but it does say something for the Aggies to be able to win on the road without Garrett. Meanwhile, he was at home getting healthier, which is an obvious plus.
Injuries to Ricky Seals-Jones and Speedy Noil gave A&M a chance to show its depth and versatility at receiver
Jeremy Tabuyo has never had the numbers to equal his talent, but he was a good outlet for Knight on Saturday and helped A&M establish tempo on the first drive of the game. Trayveon Williams showed he can complement Christian Kirk on some quick screens and Josh Reynolds had the block of the game to spring Williams on his 49-yard touchdown in the second half. As the season goes along, it’s these little things that could separate A&M when it matters. Especially as injuries begin to mount, players need to be ready to play when their name is called.
Last season, Texas A&M would have lost this game, and that makes this a good victory
Twice in 2015, the Aggies fell to a lesser opponent in the SEC (LSU, Auburn) simply because they could not get out of their own way. It may be too strong to call Texas A&M a great team just yet for finding a way to win in this type of game against South Carolina, but weak teams lose those games and the Aggies are proving they certainly aren’t that. Texas A&M is 5-0 for the third straight season; the Aggies will need to continue to show their mental strength to avoid yet another 3-5 second-half collapse.
Texas A&M is better on both sides of the run
After giving up a 75-yard rushing touchdown on the first play of the game, A&M allowed just 86 yards on the ground the rest of the way. By limiting big plays and taking away one part of the offense, the Aggies give themselves a chance to come away with wins in close games. That’s been a dream of A&M fans for years but it’s finally here. And then you have Williams, who seemingly gives the Aggies the highlight-reel touchdown run at a critical point in the game every single week. He’s still just a freshman, so it remains to be seen how he holds up over the entire season.
(You can follow Cavender Neutze on Twitter @neutz9)
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