Gamecocks look to go bombs away

Mark Passwaters, Publisher
Aggie Yell

AggieYell.com's look at Texas A&M (3-1, 1-0 SEC)'s matchup with South Carolina (3-1, 1-1 SEC) continues with a breakdown of the Gamecocks offense vs. the Aggie defense.

South Carolina likely starters

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QB: Jake Bentley (Soph.; 6'3", 220; 81-127, 1,001 yards, 7 TD, 4 INT)

RB: Rico Dowdle (Soph.; 5'11", 220; 43 carries, 130 yards, 1 TD)

TE: Hayden Hurst (Jr.; 6'6", 250; 11 catches, 145 yards, 1 TD)

TE: Jacob August (Jr.; 6'6", 258; 1 catch, 14 yards)

WR: Terry Googer (Jr.; 6'4", 217)

WR: Bryan Edwards (Soph.; 6'3", 215; 21 catches, 269 yards)

WR: Shi Smith (Fr.; 5'10", 179; 9 catches, 84 yards)

LT: Malik Young (Jr.; 6'3", 303)

LG: Sadarius Hutcherson (RS-Fr.; 6'4", 316)

C: Alan Knott (Sr.; 6'4", 290)

RG: Donell Stanley (Jr.; 6'4", 317)

RT: D.J. Park (Sr.; 6'4", 337)

South Carolina by the numbers

Scoring offense: 24 PPG (97th nationally, 12th SEC)

Rushing: 100 YPG (118th nationally, 12th SEC)

Passing: 250.3 YPG (56th nationally, 3rd SEC)

Total: 350.3 YPG (100th nationally, 11th SEC)

1st downs: 69 (92nd nationally, 10th SEC)

3rd down conversions: 45.3% (29th nationally, 3rd SEC)

4th down conversions: 50% (57th nationally, 4th SEC)

Red zone offense: 66.7% (119th nationally, 14th SEC)

Sacks allowed: 8 (68th nationally, 8th SEC)

Turnover +/-: +3 (8 takeaways, 5 giveaways; 32nd nationally, 4th SEC)

A&M likely starters 

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DE: Jarrett Johnson (Sr.; 6'3", 265; 4 tackles, 2 TFL, 1 sack, 1 forced fumble, 1 PBU)

DT: Zaycoven Henderson (Sr.; 6'2", 305; 10 tackles, 2 TFL, 1 sack)

DT: Kingsley Keke (Jr.; 6'4", 305; 11 tackles, 1 fumble recovery)

DE: Landis Durham (RS-Jr.; 6'3", 255; 14 tackles, 3.5 TFL, 3.5 sacks, 1 fumble recovery)

WILL: Otaro Alaka (RS-Jr.; 6'3", 240; 22 tackles, 2 TFL, 1 sack)

MIKE: Tyrel Dodson (Soph.; 6'2", 242; 25 tackles, 4 TFL, 3 sacks, 2 INT, 3 passes broken up)

NICKEL: Priest Willis (RS-Sr.; 6'2", 205; 9 tackles)

CB: Charles Oliver (Soph.; 6'2", 193; 9 tackles, 1 TFL, 1 sack, 1 forced fumble, 1 pass broken up)

FS: Armani Watts (Sr.; 5'11", 205; 34 tackles, 5 TFL, 1 forced fumble, 1 fumble recovery, 2 passes broken up, 3 INT)

SS: Larry Pryor (RS-Soph.; 6', 205; 23 tackles, 1 pass broken up)

CB: Myles Jones (Fr.; 6'4", 177; 17 tackles, 1 TFL, 4 passes broken up, 1 fumble recovery)

A&M by the numbers 

Scoring defense: 30.8 PPG (97th nationally, 13th SEC)

Rushing defense: 114 YPG (30th nationally, 6th SEC)

Pass defense: 300.5 YPG (121st nationally, 14th SEC)

Total defense: 414.5 YPG (92nd nationally, 13th SEC)

3rd down conversions defense: 32.1% (42nd nationally, 7th SEC)

4th down conversions defense: 80% (115th nationally, 12th SEC)

Red zone defense: 94.4% (120th nationally, 14th SEC)

First downs allowed: 79 (72nd nationally, 12th SEC)

Tackles for loss: 27 (48th nationally, 5th SEC)

Sacks: 13 (14th nationally, 2nd SEC)

Turnover +/-: +8 (11 takeaways, 3 giveaways; 6th nationally, 1st SEC)

What South Carolina wants to do

Generate some semblance of offense. They'd like to run some, but odds are that's going to mean relying on the arm of Bentley. The sophomore (who should be in high school) has become an upper echelon SEC quarterback, but he's not getting much help. Big play threat Deebo Samuel is out and the right side of the offensive line will be manned by backups.

That would be really good news for the Aggies -- if they could cover the pass consistently. Bentley still has Edwards as a deep threat and Hurst as a massive target over the middle -- and he ate A&M alive last season. Bentley has the ability to make plays and has a good pocket presence, so they're going to lean on him to keep the chains moving (something they've had trouble with) and score points (also a problem).

What A&M wants to do

Get consistent pressure on Bentley. The Aggies got to Austin Allen early and often last weekend, and Carolina has a banged up front line. If A&M takes away the run (like everyone else has), then it'll be on Bentley's arm as it has all year. The Aggies need to find a way to bring the heat while stopping Hurst from ripping them over the middle. If they can do that, and don't take the heat off as they have so many times the past couple of years, then the Gamecocks could be in a lot of trouble.

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