COLUMBIA, S.C. — Count Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin among those impressed by the atmosphere at Williams-Brice Stadium on Saturday.
“They do a great job here. They crank that ‘Sandstorm’ up and it’s kind of neat,” Sumlin said. “It’s not for everybody — for young players that look around and see that.”
Perhaps that had something to do with the first play from scrimmage: A.J. Turner’s 75-yard touchdown run.
Texas A&M defensive end Daeshon Hall offered his perspective of the play.
“We were kind of misaligned and people were in the wrong places,” he said.
Aggies safety Armani Watts said the Gamecocks touchdown was the result of a mistake by his team.
“That was all on us,” he said. “It was nothing they did that happened on that play that made us feel like we needed to change anything. We just needed to correct little issues and then play the rest of the game.”
South Carolina rushed 34 more times for 86 yards.
The Gamecocks threw for 217 yards, 138 of which came in the fourth quarter when Perry Orth was brought on in place of Brandon McIlwain.
Both quarterbacks had the luxury of not facing All-American defensive lineman Myles Garrett, who didn’t travel for the game because of an ankle injury.
“With him out, the O-line kind of focused more on me,” Hall said. “I’m used to getting doubled, but not that much in a game.”
On the opposite side of the ball, South Carolina held Texas A&M to 206 yards passing and 216 yards rushing.
Christian Kirk, who led all receivers with 12 receptions, knew Gamecocks coach Will Muschamp could make life difficult.
“Coach Muschamp is a defensive guru and we knew that he was going to come out and throw some different stuff at us,” Kirk said. “They’re really good on defense.”
And there were a few wrinkles employed by South Carolina’s defensive brain trust that helped make things a little more difficult.
“Some of the formations that we were going to get into our base, kind of get our bread and butter, they gave us some different looks,” Kirk said.