Texas A&M Football Controls Both Lines
The Gamecocks come into this game with a huge amount of injuries, as I have written previously. A great concentration of those injuries have come up front on the offensive line, which was even a point of concern for Carolina fans when they were fully healthy. The Gamecocks are one of the worst teams in the nation when it comes to sack rate allowed, coming in at 126th out of 133 FBS teams—giving up a sack on roughly one out of every ten dropbacks. That, too, is with having faced the 62nd, 112th, 32nd, 85th, 35th, and 4th-ranked teams by sack rate—in other words, the only great team they’ve faced by this metric is Tennessee (4th-ranked), and Texas A&M football (1st in the nation) is as far ahead in sack rate of Tennessee as Tennessee is of Texas State (39th in the nation).
Additionally, the Gamecocks have had almost no rushing game this year on the road, save a remarkable performance against Tennessee. It didn’t net them all that much, of course, as they lost that game 41-20, but they did show an aptitude in that contest that has eluded them outside of that one instance. Whereas the Vols defend the run with numbers and aggression, though, the Aggies defend it with the talent of their front, and I think that’s something that will transfer over well into this game, especially when facing such a depleted line. We could be in for another performance against the run similar to the Arkansas game.
On the other side of the ball, the Aggies should have a similar advantage. Believe it or not, the Gamecocks have had their fair share of five-star defensive linemen for a while, but this is the first year since 2018 that they won’t be trotting out a player that skilled on their defensive front. In fact, the Gamecocks have actually had quite a few defensive first-rounders in their time matching up against Fisher, but it’s hard to see where on the defense they may have such a talent in this game. Neither the rush nor the pass defense has been good for DC Clayton White, and many Gamecock fans are beginning to grow restless with his performance. I see the Aggies moving the ball fairly easily on the ground, which should help open up the pass game expeditiously.