Game­cocks fail to snap los­ing streak vs. Texas A&M

The Charlotte Observer (Sunday) - - College Football - BY JOSH KEN­DALL jk­[email protected]­tate.com

Just like last week, South Carolina staged a fu­ri­ous third quar­ter rally. Un­like last week, it fell short as the Game­cocks fell 26-23 to Texas A&M in front of an an­nounced crowd of 76,871 in Wil­liams-Brice Sta­dium.

South Carolina (3-3 over­all, 2-3 SEC) fell to 0-5 all-time against Texas A&M. The No. 22 Ag­gies im­proved to 5-2 and 3-1 on the sea­son. The Game­cocks have now lost eight straight to ranked op­po­nents. They are 1-8 all­time un­der head coach Will Muschamp against ranked op­po­nents.

The Game­cocks re­turned to start­ing quar­ter­back Jake Bent­ley af­ter Bent­ley missed last week’s 37-35 win over Mis­souri. Bent­ley fin­ished 17-of-35 for 223 yards, three touch­downs and an in­ter­cep­tion. He was plagued by dropped passes, two by Shi Smith and one each by Deebo Sa­muel and Bryan Ed­wards and Kiel Pol­lard. The passes to Sa­muel and Ed­wards would have led to big gains in the first half.

Texas A&M ap­peared to put the game away on a 3-yard touch­down run by Trayveon Wil­liams to go ahead 26-16 with 1:36 re­main­ing, but South Carolina went 75 yards in 48 sec­onds to pull back within one score on a 6-yard touch­down catch by Deebo Sa­muel that cut the Ag­gies lead to 26-23. The Game­cocks en­su­ing on­side kick at­tempt failed.

Texas A&M out­gained South Carolina 477-299.

THREE POINTS

Star of the game: Texas A&M tight end Jace Stern­berger had a ca­reer-high seven catches for 145 yards and one touch­down. He con­verted a third-and-7 late in the fourth quar­ter with a 23-yard grab.

Play of the game: The Game­cocks tied the game at 16-16 in the third quar­ter on a 33-yard scor­ing pass to Chavis Dawkins off a flea flicker. The trick play didn’t fool the Texas A&M de­fender, but Dawkins made a leap­ing grab at the goal line for his first catch of the sea­son and first touch­down of his ca­reer.

Stat of the game: South Carolina outscored Texas A&M 16-3 in the third quar­ter. In its last four games, it has outscored op­po­nents 50-3 in the third quar­ter.

OB­SER­VA­TIONS

Keep away: Texas A&M dom­i­nated time of pos­s­e­sion in the game. The Ag­gies held the ball for 41:29, com­pared to South Carolina’s 18:31.

In­jury up­date: South Carolina an­nounced be­fore the game that safety Nick Har­vey would miss the game due to a con­cus­sion. Safety Steven Mon­tac didn’t play on the de­ci­sive drive of the fourth quar­ter, but it was un­clear if Mon­tac was in­jured or had been re­placed for other rea­sons. Safety Jamyest Wil­liams left the field with an in­jury with less than two min­utes re­main­ing. De­fen­sive tackle Keir Thomas left the game with an in­jury with 1:36 left.

Rough start: Bent­ley was booed sev­eral times in the first half. He fin­ished the half 6-of-17 for 46 yards, no touch­downs and one in­ter­cep­tion. How­ever, he re­sponded by lead­ing an 82-yard touch­down drive on South Carolina’s first pos­ses­sion of the sec­ond half.

NEXT

Who: South Carolina vs. Ten­nessee

When: Satur­day, Oct. 27, Time TBA

Where: Wil­liams-Brice Sta­dium, Co­lum­bia, SC

TV: TBA

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