South Carolina Football: Report card vs. Texas A&M

South Carolina football's Spencer Rattler hands off to Juju McDowell during the Gamecocks' loss to Texas A&M. Mandatory Credit: Dustin Safranek-USA TODAY Sports
South Carolina football's Spencer Rattler hands off to Juju McDowell during the Gamecocks' loss to Texas A&M. Mandatory Credit: Dustin Safranek-USA TODAY Sports /
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South Carolina football dropped its fourth straight game on Saturday. The 30-17 loss to the Texas A&M Aggies was much less competitive than the score indicates.

A strong 1st quarter was erased (and then some) by a disastrous 2nd period, and with an opportunity to still keep it a one-score game at halftime, the Gamecocks gave up a 42-yard touchdown with under a minute to go in the half. The second half was relatively even, but with a two-score deficit at the start of the 3rd quarter, the game finished with a similar margin.

There wasn’t much to celebrate from the battle for the Bonham Trophy, but there was plenty that went wrong for the garnet and black.

Here are the grades for South Carolina football’s loss to the Texas A&M Aggies:

C. There weren’t very many Gamecock fans in attendance for the game in College Station (or, at minimum, they didn’t have that much to cheer for on Saturday), so this grade will be primarily focused on the South Carolina football online ecosystem, especially “Gamecock Twitter.” Frankly, expectations were low going into the game, so there wasn’t too much doom-and-gloom from the fanbase that didn’t already exist. Some optimism shone through early on with the Gamecocks’ strong start, but it didn’t take long for it to fade away. The fans’ cries for staff changes were deafening by the time the final whistle blew, but given the fact that some of those decisions would be in the best interest of the program, it’s hard to ding the fans for that. The negative outlook heading into the game and the (mostly) moderate response to the poor play leave the fans with an average grade on Saturday.. . South Carolina Gamecocks. FANS

C-. There wasn’t much different about the Texas A&M game from the rest of the year. Defensive coordinator Clayton White’s unit was outmatched and outcoached (but had one strong stretch of play in the 3rd quarter), offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains did a fine job given the injuries and limited nature of what he had to work with, and the Gamecock special teams groups were slightly below average. That has been the story for most of the year, and like most of the year, the Gamecock coaching staff didn’t really give the team an opportunity to beat an opponent with more talent on its roster. A few personnel decisions seemed odd, but injuries and/or other factors could be revealed later. No in-game decision was egregious, but there wasn’t anything that gave the Gamecocks an edge, either.. . South Carolina Gamecocks. COACHING

. South Carolina Gamecocks. SPECIAL TEAMS. C-. Special teams was underwhelming again on Saturday. The Gamecocks missed several potentially game-changing opportunities in the third phase of football when a blocked punt opportunity (literally) went through the hands of Josh Simon and a chance to pin the Aggies at the 1-yard line failed due to lack of effort from the Gamecock gunners. Mitch Jeter did his job on Saturday, but in one of the season’s most bizarre trends, Kai Kroeger continued to struggle mightily. He had multiple punts under 40 yards, including one that was so short that it caused a Gamecock fair catch interference penalty. The kick return game was not a benefit to the team, and the coverage teams were just pretty good. The biggest positive was that Jalon Kilgore, replacing Eddie Lewis, saved Carolina lots of field position by running up and fair catching punts instead of letting them bounce, a major issue that has plagued the punt return game in recent weeks.