After the bye week, Texas A&M is trying to close out its season with a victory at Kyle Field.
In the final home game of the season, A&M will face a South Carolina team that needs to win two more games to become bowl eligible after losing to Appalachian State last weekend. Despite the Gamecocks’ losing record, A&M coach Jimbo Fisher said South Carolina is still able to compete with the top programs in the SEC.
“South Carolina’s a very talented football team,” Fisher said. “They come off a tough loss this weekend, but it’s also a team that went to Georgia and won. They’re going to come in here guns blazing, ready to play, and we need to finish these next three games and play the way we need to play.”
Since starting the season 3-3, the Aggies have bounced back in the second half of the season, going on a three-game win streak and clinching bowl eligibility with a win over UTSA.
Junior linebacker Buddy Johnson said being able to hold onto that momentum will be key for the team in this final stretch of the season, which includes road games against LSU and Georgia.
“This last stretch is huge for us, and right now we’ve got the momentum,” Johnson said. “We just have to continue to keep it going.”
On offense, A&M has increased its offensive output over these last three games, and the running game has been a big part of that. In their last contest against UTSA, the Aggies posted their best rushing game of the season, totaling 267 yards on the ground while freshman tailback Isaiah Spiller had a career-high 217 rushing yards.
Junior quarterback Kellen Mond said he had seen the offense’s improvement over the last month.
“I like where we’re at, with the progress that we’ve made in the last two or three weeks,” Mond said. “We’ve seen flashes of us getting better each and every week. That starts in practice, and look for that to continue to grow this week.”
The Aggies will have to try and contain South Carolina wideout Bryan Edwards. This season, Edwards leads the Gamecocks in receiving yards (816) and touchdowns (six), and he has the fourth highest reception total in the country (71).
Junior defensive back Keldrick Carper said Edwards would pose a challenge for the defense to deal with.
“Edwards is a very talented receiver,” Carper said. “He’s tough [and] physical. They use him in a couple different ways, and they want to give him the ball in the pass game. They’re a really physical run team, but when they get out in the pass game they try to find him, so we’ve got to be able to match up with him.”
A&M will face off against South Carolina at Kyle Field on Saturday with kickoff set for 6:30 p.m. The game will be televised on SEC Network.