The Daily Gamecock

Preview: Gamecocks hopeful to secure first win against Texas A&M at home on Saturday night

The South Carolina football team will attempt to continue its three-game win streak this Saturday in Williams Brice Stadium against SEC opponent Texas A&M.

The Gamecocks are entering this weekend off of a bye week with a 4-2 record, riding high on its most recent road triumph against Kentucky. 

“We did some great things in Lexington that night, but we can play a lot better than what we did in certain areas,” head coach Shane Beamer said. 

South Carolina has yet to earn a victory against the Aggies since the two teams began playing each annually  back in 2014. 

“For me, this is a big game because I've been here for four years and never beat them — never came close," senior defensive lineman Zacch Pickens said. "I feel like this is our year we can finally get close.” 

In the last three matchups, Texas A&M’s offense dominated with an average score differential of 33 points in favor of the Aggies. 

“We got a great opponent this week, playing at home here, and we're excited for the opportunity," redshirt junior quarterback Spencer Rattler said.  "We're going to go out there and play at a high level and hopefully go out there and execute on all levels.” 

The Aggie offense is primarily led by junior running back Devon Achane, who has 528 rushing yards and three touchdowns so far this season. Achane is coming off his worst game of the season against Alabama, just averaging 3.9 yards per carry for a total of 62 yards through the entirety of the game. 

“He is a very quick guy. Very shifty," redshirt senior defensive lineman M.J. Webb said. "He is our main focus on stopping that run and whatever other back they got coming into the game.” 

Texas A&M starting quarterback, Max Johnson, suffered a broken bone in his throwing hand against Mississippi State in week five. Head coach Jimbo Fisher has yet to confirm who will be the starter against South Carolina this weekend, deciding between freshman Conner Weigman or sophomore Haynes King.

King, who played for the Aggies against Alabama in the most recent game, gutted through the pain of a foot injury and threw for 253 yards, two touchdowns and one interception.  

The South Carolina defense had a breakthrough two weeks ago in its showdown against the Kentucky Wildcats, only allowing 14 points.  The team capitalized on its impressive performance with an interception late in the game to seal it.   

“I give credit to our defense because they have elevated their play in the last couple of weeks. And that's helped us elevate our play in practice leading up to Saturday,” sixth-year offensive lineman Eric Douglas said.

Rattler made strides against Kentucky, completing 14 of 19 passes for 177 yards. The offense stepped up when it mattered most and led South Carolina to 17 unanswered in the second half. 

“We're a great second-half team," Rattler said. "For me, I want to start faster, all of us want to start faster. We have to do it as a group." 

South Carolina sophomore running back MarShawn Lloyd has nine offensive touchdowns this season and two games with over 100 yards rushing. It is boding well for Llyod to have another statement night taking into account that the Aggies have the 13th-worst rush defenses in the SEC and have allowed an average of 189 rush yards per game. 

“MarShawn is doing a great job," Beamer said. "He's playing fast, he's playing physical, he’s making people miss, and he’s really improved in his pass-catch ability."

South Carolina is looking to continue its recent winning streak this Saturday night and bring its eight-game losing streak against the Aggies to an end. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. The game will air on SEC Network.


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