The Aggies are 4-0 all-time against their SEC cross-divisional rival, and although those four wins came under former head coach Kevin Sumlin, new head coach, Jimbo Fisher, is 1-0 against South Carolina when he was at Florida State.
So what does Texas A&M need to do to pick up a big road win against the Gamecocks at Williams-Brice Stadium in Columbia, South Carolina? Here are the three keys to victory:
1. Run The Ball
A major key to this game will not be Kellen Mond’s arm. Instead, the pressure will be on Aggies running back Trayveon Williams to deliver another big performance and he should be able to run on the Gamecocks’ 99th-ranked rushing defense. The rain is scheduled to clear up on Wednesday, too, so the ground will be primed for Williams to get going. Although South Carolina won a close contest last week against Missouri, 37-35, they still gave up 300 yards rushing and three touchdowns. The Aggies will pound the football, run clock, and keep South Carolina’s offense off the field.
2. Put Pressure on Jake Bentley
Speaking of arms, South Carolina is having some questions at the quarterback spot. Coach Will Muschamp is expected to start Jake Bentley, who injured his knee a few weeks ago against Kentucky. His back-up, Michael Scarnecchia, played well last week, but there is no certainty that Bentley’s knee will hold up and he might be needed again. The Gamecocks are a pass-happy team and although they have three top-tier receivers — Deebo Samuel, Bryan Edwards, and Shi Smith — they won’t have enough possessions to work because the Aggies will control the clock and keep them on the sideline.
The Aggies will still have to get pressure on Bentley and have him prove that he can step up in the pocket or roll out of it to make throws to those great wide outs. If they can play the defensive game they played against Kentucky, the Aggies shouldn’t have any problems.
3. Limit the Turnovers
You can never take a team for granted, especially one you’re supposed to beat, and one of the easiest ways to be upset in a game like this is to lose the turnover battle. The Aggies cannot afford any turnovers and definitely not on the road. Kellen Mond will need to protect the ball and not give up any cheap points to a team that will struggle offensively.
The formula is simple and history is on their side. Texas A&M should be able to seize this moment and have a great road win.