After being undefeated against South Carolina since 2014, No. 7 Texas A&M prepares to continue its streak on Saturday, Nov. 7.
The Aggies enter this matchup with a 4-1 record after defeating Arkansas 42-31 on Oct. 31, while the Gamecocks sit at 2-3.
Coming into the Aggies’ third away game of the season, A&M coach Jimbo Fisher said there are certain qualities that make a good road team.
“I think being on the road, you’ve got to understand that you’re going into a hostile environment,” Fisher said. “Everybody there except for the Aggies that are allowed to get tickets are not going to be for you. So, you do have to have a chip on your shoulder. You’ve got to expect hostility. You’ve got to be able to stand by yourself and stand with your brothers on the team, and it becomes a mentality like that, which hopefully you have at home too.”
Last season, the Aggies dominated the Gamecocks 30-6 in Kyle Field. Senior quarterback Kellen Mond threw for 221 yards and sophomore running back Isaiah Spiller rushed for 129 yards.
This season, South Carolina senior quarterback Collin Hill leads the Gamecocks with 1,076 passing yards and five touchdowns, but has been sacked 16 times. Meanwhile, the Aggies have accumulated 14 sacks this season.
A&M junior defensive end Tyree Johnson said the Aggies have improved defensively this season. Senior linebacker Buddy Johnson leads the team with 54 tackles and senior Micheal Clemons leads with four sacks.
“We really sat down and the whole summer we worked,” Johnson said. “All we did was talk pass rush, sacks and what could happen on Saturdays. What you reap is what you sow. If you work hard, you get what you want.”
Fisher said South Carolina plays well at home with the support of a strong coaching staff, and night games in Columbia may be tough for the Aggies.
“Will [Muschamp]’s a heck of a football coach,” Fisher said. “Mike Bobo, I’ve known him a long time. Very good football coach. They’ve got really good players. Both corners are ones projected to be first rounders, one preseason, the other one this season. So very good there. They’ve got rush guys up front, 52 and those guys can rush. The backers, 53 and those guys, make a ton of plays. Five, six up front, those guys are strong.”
Fisher said the Gamecocks’ running backs can move the football well. Sophomore Kevin Harris leads the team with 535 rushing yards and sophomore Deshaun Fenwick follows with 208 rushing yards. Harris also leads the team with eight touchdowns in five games.
“The young back 20 is really doing a great job for them in my opinion,” Fisher said. “Physical. Quarterback’s doing a good job there. Of course, Smith had a big play on us last year. He’s a really good receiver. Tight ends are good. They’ll have a good scheme.”
Senior offensive lineman Carson Green said due to COVID-19, road games are not as loud as usual which allows the team to remain relaxed.
“South Carolina, from what I remember, it is a great place to play,” Green said. “They have ‘Enter Sandman’ playing and the bird cawing every third down. For us this year as an O-Line we are trying to make an emphasis on being really calm. If we mess something up, we cannot be panicking.”
This week, Green was recognized as the SEC Offensive Lineman of the Week, pointing toward him to lead the offense in the upcoming game.
“I wish everyone was recognized because I think for one of us to do good, everyone around you has to be doing good too,” Green said.
A&M will face the Gamecocks on Nov. 7 at Williams-Brice Stadium in South Carolina. Kickoff is set for 6 p.m., and the game will be televised on ESPN.