COLLEGE STATION, Texas (WIS) - It may not be baseball season, but the Gamecocks find themselves in a situation similar to being in the bottom of the ninth inning with two outs.
South Carolina enters Saturday’s contest at Texas A&M with just four wins. The Gamecocks need two more to qualify as a bowl-eligible team. To get there, they’ll have to deal with their first obstacle in Jimbo Fisher and the Aggies at Kyle Field.
The Gamecocks, who have lost the last five games to the Aggies, understand what’s at stake and they hope to make progress toward the goal of playing one more game in December.
“Well this is a results business,” Gamecocks head coach Will Muschamp said. “it's about winning games at the end of the day and we haven't won enough games. So that's the bottom line. As far as the main progress that needs to be made is winning football games. We haven't made that progress. I think over a three-year period of time, this staff's won more games than any staff has in school history. So we actually have done a couple good things around here and we've had a very inconsistent year and I'll continue to evaluate that and we'll see what decisions we need to make moving forward.”
The Aggies are led by Kellen Mond at quarterback. The Texas A&M junior has thrown for 2,214 yards and 17 touchdowns. Last time these two teams met, Mond threw for 353 yards to lead the Aggies to their 26-23 win.
“Kellen Mond's, three-year starter, a dual-threat guy can hurt you in multiple ways,” Muschamp said. “Can hurt you with his legs. He's got arm talent, he can make all the throws, and I think you see Jimbo puts a lot on the quarterback at the line checking in and out of the run game protections, doing a lot a different things with him at the line of scrimmage.”
Mond has the luxury of throwing to Jharmon Ausbon and Quartney Davis. Combined, the two have 87 catches for 1,139 yards and seven touchdowns.
“He's done a really nice job for a really talented at receiver. Quartney Davis number one, Jhamon Ausbon number two, big receivers,” Muschamp said, “guys that have been very productive for them. Vertical balls, underneath throws, give 'em the ball in the speed sweeps and different things.”
Defensively, Texas A&M has done enough to keep them on top in most games. The Aggies give up an average of 21.8 points per game to their opponents. Ironically, Carolina has averaged 21 points in their last three games. Part of that comes down to being healthy enough to do a variety of things on offense.
“Well again, we're going to have Shi back, and we're going to have Chavis Dawkins back,” Muschamp said. “Well certainly, from a practice standpoint, of little uncertain sometimes when you get into a Wednesday or a Thursday whether or not, who's going to be up for you. So you got new faces in there and obviously it takes turns and reps to learn things at times and to block different looks whether it's a middle field, whether it's split safety, whether it's cover two, it's quarters, whatever the case may be, how we going to run the route based on the leverage of the safety? Got to be on the same page as the quarterback, so yeah there's certainly some issues with that.”
South Carolina takes on Texas A&M at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday. The game can be seen on the SEC Network.