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PFF game notes and stats preview: Texas A&M at South Carolina

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Texas A&M’s strong defensive line will try to exploit South Carolina’s offensive line struggles.

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NCAA Football: UCLA at Texas A&M Ray Carlin-USA TODAY Sports

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Texas A&M Top Graded Players This Season

Offense

Defense

Connor Lanfear, RG (74.8)

Myles Garrett, EDGE (89.9)

Josh Reynolds, WR (74.6)

Shaan Washington, LB (85.1)

Trayveon Williams, HB (73.3)

Zaycoven Henderson, DT (79.9)

South Carolina Top Graded Players This Season

Offense

Defense

Zack Bailey, LG (77.4)

Jonathan Walton, LB (79.6)

Randrecous Davis, WR (69.4)

Kelsey Griffin, DT (79.2)

K.C. Crosby, WR (66.2)

Taylor Stallworth, DT (78.1)

When South Carolina has the ball…

  • Outside of left guard Zack Bailey, the South Carolina offensive line has struggled throughout the season. Offensive tackles D.J. Park (38.9) and Mason Zandi (40.6) have been the most glaring weaknesses on the line, ranking 93rd and 106th in the nation in pass blocking efficiency. This week they will face an A&M defense that is currently the top graded pass rushing unit in the nation and features the defensive end duo of Myles Garrett and Daeshon Hall who have a combined 37 total pressures on the season.
  • The South Carolina offense ranks 61st out of 65 Power-5 teams this season and has just five players with above average grades through four games. The A&M defense on the other hand has 18 total players that have earned plus grades through four games.
  • Quarterback Brandon McIlwain has not been an effective passer this year, ranking 15th out of 16 qualifying SEC QBs with a 69.89 PFF QB Rating. McIlwain has been hesitant to throw the ball downfield, with 57% of his pass attempts traveling less than 10 yards from the line of scrimmage. He has shown an ability to beat a defense with his legs though, collecting 100 rushing yards on 27 designed QB runs with 68 of those yards coming after contact.

When Texas A&M has the ball…

  • Freshman running back Trayveon Williams is currently the SEC’s 4th highest graded running back and leads the conference in both average yards per attempt (9.7) and average yards after contact per attempt (5.7). Williams has been the explosive threat the A&M offense needed, ranking 7th nationally in elusive rating and earning 61.7% of his rushing yards on runs of 15 or more yards. South Carolina does have several impressive run stoppers on their defensive line though, namely Taylor Stallworth and Kelsey Griffin. Both Stallworth and Griffin have been stout against the run this year, earning run stop percentages of 8.5% and 9.3%, respectively.
  • Wide receiver Josh Reynolds continued his excellent play against Arkansas, earning the 4th best grade last week among SEC wide receivers. For the season, Reynolds ranks 25th in the nation with a 133.8 WR Rating and has the 9th most receiving yards on deep pass attempts (20+yards). South Carolina’s likely starters at cornerback this week, Chris Lammons (49.9) and Jamarcus King (54.8) have not graded well in coverage this season. King has especially struggled, allowing a reception once every 6.2 coverage snaps, the 2nd worst rate in the country.
  • QB Trevor Knight should find himself with plenty of time to throw on Saturday, as the Gamecocks have totaled just 37 QB pressures as a team this season. For comparison sake, Myles Garrett and Daeshon Hall have combined for 37 total pressures alone and the A&M defense has accumulated exactly 100 QB pressures through four games. If Knight were to face pressure, all is not lost as he has been accurate on 60% of his pressured pass attempts, the 21st best rate in the nation.