South Carolina vs. Texas A&M: Game Grades, Analysis for Gamecocks and Aggies

Steven Cook@@stevencookinFeatured Columnist IVOctober 31, 2015

COLLEGE STATION, TX - OCTOBER 31: Kyler Murray #1 of the Texas A&M Aggies escapes the tackle of Skai Moore #10 of the South Carolina Gamecocks in the first quarter of a NCAA football game at Kyle Field on October 31, 2015 in College Station, Texas. (Photo by Eric Christian Smith/Getty Images)
Eric Christian Smith/Getty Images

Texas A&M ended its two-game losing streak in a gutsy fashion, overcoming a first-half deficit to take down the South Carolina Gamecocks at home 35-28. 

The two teams combined for nearly 1,000 yards of total offense, so don't expect very favorable grades defensively for either unit. Take a look below for grades and analysis of both teams.

Texas A&M Game Grades

UnitFirst-Half GradeFinal Grade
Pass OffenseB+B
Run OffenseAA
Pass DefenseC+B-
Run DefenseD+C-
Special TeamsBB
vs. South Carolina, 10/31/2015

Pass Offense: The starting debut of Kyler Murray provided more than Aggies fans could have asked for. He went 20-for-28 through the air for 223 yards and a score, showcasing his big arm to complement his running abilities. Most importantly, he didn't turn the ball over.

TexAgs.com noted what the team thought of Murray's play:

TexAgs @TexAgs

Ifedi: Kyler's a great quarterback who can go out there and pass or run. He played his tail off today and did a lot of great things for us.

Run Offense: We saw firsthand just how dangerous the Aggies can be on the ground with Murray at the helm. He ran for more than 150 yards, adding to Texas A&M's 321 ground yards. Tra Carson also surpassed the century mark with 122 yards, one of three Aggies to score on the ground.

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Pass Defense: The Aggies couldn't help but give up timely third-down conversions to South Carolina quarterback Perry Orth early on but stiffened up when it mattered most. They held the Gamecocks to under 200 yards passing and forced two interceptions that helped seal the deal.

Run Defense: Texas A&M's run defense problems cropped up again. Brandon Wilds rushed 17 times for 128 yards and a score to help the Gamecocks surpass 250 rushing yards, but Orth was held to negative yardage in the second half after more than 80 rushing yards in the first.

Special Teams: Punter Drew Kaser didn't have his best day, but the stats don't show it after a booming 71-yard punt. Kicker Taylor Bertolet shanked a 25-yard field goal on the game's opening drive, which forced the Aggies to be more aggressive on fourth-down situations from there on.

Coaching: The offensive coaches put Murray in a great spot to succeed and deserve a lot of credit for his great debut. The same can't be said on defense, but that had more to do with personnel issues than John Chavis' play-calling.

South Carolina Game Grades

UnitFirst-Half GradeFinal Grade
Pass OffenseBC+
Run OffenseB+B+
Pass DefenseC+C
Run DefenseFF
Special TeamsB-B-
vs. Texas A&M, 10/31/2015

Pass Offense: Perry Orth gave the Gamecocks a much-needed dimension through the air early on but couldn't make the plays when it mattered most. He had two late interceptions, one of which resulted in an Aggies touchdown and the other sealing the loss.

Run Offense: Wilds ran wild (I couldn't resist) on the ground with 128 yards to help the Gamecocks surpass 250 yards on the ground. His success established their offense in a big way early on. It eventually dried up as the Aggies put more bodies in the box.

Even amid the loss, head coach Shawn Elliott couldn't deny his team made some strides, per David Cloninger of The State:

David Cloninger @DCPandC

Shawn Elliott: "When you reflect back on the game ... I think our team made improvements."

Pass Defense: South Carolina's secondary improved throughout the game but started behind the eight-ball by allowing Murray to settle in through the air. They couldn't make big plays in the second half when it was needed.

Run Defense: The Gamecocks defense was gashed on the ground, giving up 321 rushing yards. A&M's quarterback surpassed the 150-yard plateau. Need I say more?

Special Teams: Punter Sean Kelly pinned the Aggies inside their 20 three times, but six punts was way too much against a team like Texas A&M. Otherwise, South Carolina's special teams unit had no impact on the game.

Coaching: Brilliant play-calling on offense allowed the Gamecocks to find their mojo early on, but the defense couldn't find an answer for Murray. That has to go down to the coaches, who failed to dial up any real pressure for Murray all game long.


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