Late in the first half, the Aggies had found their footing on offense and were pretty much rolling every time they got the ball. Going up 14-7 with the Gamecocks taking over, most Texas A&M football fans expected a solid defensive series followed by a kneeldown or two to take things to halftime.
What happened instead was another thing that many of the Maroon and White faithful had been begging for all year: Jimbo called a timeout to halt the clock on third down! It paid off nearly immediately, too, as the first play the Aggies ran after receiving the punt was a long touchdown pass to Ainias Smith to put A&M up 21-7. The Aggies still had two more timeouts, too, which Jimbo utilized on the next Gamecock drive, forcing them to run the ball rather than throw it—and that was just fine with the A&M defense, having snuffed out the run for much of the day.
Deuce with Two Big Plays
The Gamecocks, though they found a little more purchase in the running game from the third quarter on, began to try to test the Aggies with some downfield passes. Carolina has great size at receiver, with 6’5” Trey Knox, 6’4” Nyck Harbor, and 6’3” Xavier Legette all taking the field for the Gamecocks. So it only makes sense that they would test the shortest player on the back end of the Aggie defense when he got matched up with the big guys.
That matchup ended far differently for the Gamecocks than they had envisioned. Deuce Harmon was tested downfield in two critical instances, and he delivered on both. First was a jump ball down on the sideline to the massive freshman Harbor on third down, which would have given the Gamecocks great field position to continue their drive, and doubtless at least a field goal attempt even if the Aggies had stymied them from that point on. Harmon got his hand up just in the nick of time to break up the pass. The second attempt was to the all-conference talent and super senior Legette, and though Deuce may have arrived early, he still was stuck on big number 17 in coverage like white on rice. Something has been way different over the last two weeks when it comes to defending the deep ball, and it’s a positive sign for the Aggies.