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
Bam Martin-Scott and the South Carolina football team lost their fourth straight on Saturday. Mandatory Credit: Dustin Safranek-USA TODAY Sports /

South Carolina Football vs. Texas A&M:
Grades for the defense

DEFENSIVE LINE. B-. The defensive line had a decent day against A&M. A couple of run fit issues from the linebackers and secondary made things look worse than they really were. Tyreek Johnson had the best game of his career, and TJ Sanders had another solid showing. Tonka Hemingway and Boogie Huntley flashed at times, and Bryan Thomas, Jr. had some nice pass rush reps and toughed it out after suffering a gnarly-looking finger injury. Holding the Aggies to just over 100 yards in a game they led most of the way is no small feat. The biggest knock on the Gamecock line on Saturday was that the pass rush started off amazingly (3 sacks and 5 quarterback hits in the first two drives; two of the sacks were either earned or caused by the d-line), but the success slowed after that. The defensive line played at an average clip the rest of the way and couldn’t get home for another sack.. . South Carolina Gamecocks

C+. The linebackers have had a weird season. In every game, there have been periods of really solid play against the run and some really awful play against the run. Saturday’s contest against Texas A&M saw that trend continue. Debo Williams had a good day (aside from a dropped interception), and the rest of the linebackers combined to tally a decent number of tackles. However, some really odd attempts at run fits and poor coverage in the passing game hurt the unit. Stone Blanton had a really nice first drive of the game, and Bam Martin-Scott showed some pass rush chops (both in the A-gap and off the edge) and showed off some nice athleticism on a few tackles. Jaron Willis got his first significant run of the year and flashed a time or two, as well. The linebacker group still can’t cover, and the work in the run game is far too inconsistent, but when they play well, they make a lot of tackles. Saturday afternoon was a microcosm of that reality.. . South Carolina Gamecocks. LINEBACKERS

. South Carolina Gamecocks. SECONDARY . D. The Carolina secondary just isn’t very good right now. Every player who plays has talent and has even had good games this season. However, having more than one or two guys perform well in a single game has seemed like an impossibility in 2023. Against the Aggies, Judge Collier was pretty good in the 1st half playing in place of O’Donnell Fortune (who was kept out for a half for unknown reasons). Fortune was not good when he took over after halftime and did not give very good effort. Nick Emmanwori was very good after DQ Smith (who struggled) got ejected for targeting, but Emmanwori wasn’t at his best before that. Jalon Kilgore had a good day in coverage for most of the game, but one massive bust cost the team a back-breaking touchdown right before halftime. Marcellas Dial had a Marcellas Dial game: he had blanket coverage for the majority of his snaps, was playing way too far off a handful of times, and looked lost a couple of times, as well. Quarterback Max Johnson was not very good for A&M on Saturday, but he still logged 250 passing yards. The Gamecocks still haven’t forced a turnover in a long time, extending the streak to 13 straight quarters without a takeaway.

You can check out the official box score here.

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