With one minute left in the third quarter of this game, Texas A&M was down by double digits at home to South Carolina. The offense had clicked a little bit early in the game, then sputtered and almost completely died in the second quarter, then just barely caught rhythm again late in the third, churning up 55 yards to set up a long-ish field goal.
LaCamera nailed it with 59 seconds left in the quarter, and that was the spark.
The Aggies went into the fourth quarter trailing 17—10 and played like a different team. The OL rotation resulted in fresh legs churning up huge holes for Keith Ford, who rumbled over pretty much every hapless Gamecock who stood in his way. The defense played inspired, sacking Bentley approximately nineteen times (in reality, four). The Kyle Field crowd got so loud that the announcers on SEC Network stopped talking. There were lulls in the offense, yes, but lulls are an improvement over 3-and-outs that last 20 seconds of gametime and give the defense virtually no rest.
There was also the bizarre sequence after what looked like another Mond rushing TD that resulted in a targeting ejection on WR Camron Buckley for blocking near the goal line (yes, it was a targeting, per the rule book; this is unpopular but the call was correct). The point is, it could have just dashed all the momentum and deflated the team, and it didn’t. They stayed hungry and mad and scored again anyway.
The Aggies scored 17 points in about eight and a half minutes starting at the end of the third, and kept the Gamecocks bottled up on defense. They burned the clock down to under two minutes protecting the one touchdown lead before finally punting it back to South Carolina. The defense kept the pressure on Bentley and ultimately they turned it over on downs near midfield.
This was not a marquee win. It was not flashy. It was not even exciting in the chaotic way that last week’s OT victory over Arkansas was. But it was another example of the Aggies keeping their poise and somehow doing just enough to get the win over an average, but not terrrible South Carolina squad.
Coach Sumlin said in the postgame interview that the 12th Man definitely made a difference in this game. This was the first time this year we’ve seen Kyle Field get that loud when the team is on defense and it paid off. This isn’t a win to be ashamed of, and all those members of the 12th Man eager to be rid of Sumlin will have to wait for another opportunity to see him fail.
Next week might be a good one for you.