COLUMBIA — Union native Shi Smith caught his first touchdown pass on Saturday from quarterback Jake Bentley, but it wasn’t enough as the Gamecocks fell to 3-2 on the season with a 24-17 loss to Texas A&M.
Smith’s touchdown came in the second quarter with the Gamecocks trailing the Aggies 7-0. Jake Bentley scrambled out of the pocket and connected with Smith for a 45-yard touchdown strike. A few minutes later Gamecock kicker Parker White added a 29-yard field goal to put the Gamecocks up 10-7 at the half.
The Gamecocks added to their lead early in the third quarter when Bentley threw a 13-yard touchdown strike to freshman OrTre Smith. But that was all the scoring the Gamecocks would manage. Following their last scoring possession the Gamecocks got conservative with the play calling and ran the ball in an attempt to run time of the clock. The Gamecock offensive line however was not up to that task. Ty’Son Williams was the Gamecocks leading rusher with 14 carries for 73 yards. The offensive line for South Carolina struggled on Saturday. Net rushing for South Carolina totaled 23 yards, due to seven sacks on quarterback Jake Bentley.
Jamyest Williams led the way for the Carolina defense with 10 total tackles and two tackles for a loss. The defense allowed Texas A&M to rush for 237 yards on the ground including 95 to freshman quarterback Kellen Mond. Mond was also 19/27 for 159 yards passing.
Carolina will return home this Saturday to take on Arkansas at 4 p.m. The Razorbacks are 2-2 with losses to Texas A&M, TCU, and Virginia Tech.
The Gamecocks will have to be able to run the football on Saturday to be successful on Saturday. The passing game was very effective for Carolina in the early going, but after the Aggies realized that South Carolina couldn’t run the football, their defense just pinned their ears back and attacked quarterback Jake Bentley when he would attempt to throw the football. Offensive Coordinator Kurt Roper is going to have to find a way to get the running game going. He will have to get more creative with his play calling to make up for the lack of the offensive line’s blocking.
Tyler Shugart can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.