South Carolina 3 Keys: Texas A&M

South carolina football Three keys

The South Carolina Gamecocks (4-3) survived Vanderbilt last week but must clean up their play in many areas if they want to take down the Texas A&M Aggies (5-2) in College Station on Saturday. Here are the three keys to a Gamecock win.

By Steve Wright

1 – Keep the game low scoring

The Gamecocks don’t have the offensive parts to get into a game where the score blows up. The running game hasn’t been dynamic enough and the quarterback situation has been an issue for head coach Shane Beamer all season long. Quarterback Luke Doty – who hasn’t looked right all season – has been benched in place of grad assistant Zeb Noland after Doty threw two bad fourth-quarter picks that almost let Vandy back into the game last weekend. Noland is limited, but he will make good decisions and avoid bad mistakes. The offense has to be efficient and not turn it over and let the defense – which has been a strength all year – do its job.

2 – Cut out the mistakes

The interceptions were bad – they always look that way as picks show up on the box score – but it was penalties more than anything else that killed South Carolina last time out. The game with Vandy should have been out of sight before the ‘Dores rallied, but a total of 10 penalties on South Carolina kept it close. Many of those penalties were ones that killed offensive drives, something the Gamecocks can ill afford against the Aggies.

3 – Stop the run

This is where it gets dangerous. The Aggies want to squeeze the life out of their opponents with defense and a power run game. That run game has been dominant over the past few weeks as the offensive line has improved at a meteoric pace. Isaiah Spiller is third in the SEC in rushing with 659 yards and his backfield mate Devon Achane is second in the league in average on the ground at 6.88 yards per carry. They have averaged over five yards per carry in three of their last four and the Aggies will be winding up their backs and unleashing them on Saturday. The Gamecocks have to hold them under 150 yards to have a shot.

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