Josh Kendall

Can Gamecocks overcome bad matchup with Texas A&M?

Texas A&M’s run defense is ranked No. 1 in the SEC. South Carolina’s running game is inconsistent at best.

The Aggies rushing offense is fifth in the conference. The Gamecocks rushing defense is struggling and next-to-last in the conference.

Two weeks ago, South Carolina lost 24-10 to Kentucky while rushing for 128 yards and allowing 195 rushing yards. Last week, Texas A&M beat Kentucky 20-14 while rushing for 164 yards and allowing 70 rushing yards.

In summation, the Aggies strengths and Gamecocks weaknesses line up in a way that looks very bad for South Carolina’s chances to beat Texas A&M on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. in Williams-Brice Stadium. The Gamecocks and Aggies meet for the fifth time this weekend. South Carolina has yet to win one of the meetings.

If that’s going to change, the Gamecocks have to take care of a lot of issues with their football team. South Carolina has struggled with consistency all season at quarterback, in the run game, in run defense and in the secondary. The usually steady offensive line even had a hiccup last week.

The Gamecocks have yet to establish what or who they are this season, which is why the Aggies are 2-point favorites in this game. Texas A&M, in its first season under longtime Will Muschamp friend Jimbo Fisher, has looked better than most people thought it would. The No. 22 Aggies have given both No. 1 Alabama and No. 3 Clemson their best games of the season, although in the case of the Crimson Tide that’s a very relative fact.

South Carolina quarterback Jake Bentley returns to the lineup Saturday in a game that could be a turning point in his career. There are plenty of Gamecocks fans who think Michael Scarnecchia should keep the job after his fill-in performance against Missouri, and some of them may let Bentley know it in Williams-Brice Stadium today, but this is a moment Bentley could fully win over his fan base with an inspired performance.

It’s going to take somebody on South Carolina’s roster stepping up with a special day to beat the Aggies.

Texas A&M 24, South Carolina 20