By Rixon Lane
South Carolina had the worst defensive outing in school history on Thursday night.
Texas A&M's offense shredded the Gamecock defense for 680 yards in a 52-28 victory. But how did the South Carolina defense manage to give up so many yards?
Obviously, the A&M offense was clicking on all cylinders. However, the Gamecocks aided the Aggies all night. I watched the game again and broke down South Carolina's defense into four categories; missed tackling opportunities, times the ball carrier ran for a first down on 3rd down, plays where Kenny Hill was touched while possessing the football, and negative plays.
Missed Tackling Opportunities: 38
1st quarter - 10, 2nd quarter - 9, 3rd quarter - 9, 4th quarter - 10
Keep in mind, this is not the number of tackles South Carolina missed on the night. Instead, I tallied up every time a Gamecock either had his hands on the ball carrier or was in position to make a tackle and failed to do so. All told, South Carolina missed 38 chances to make tackles on the night.
Ball Carrier Runs Past 1st Down Marker On 3rd Down: 7
1st quarter - 2, 2nd quarter - 2, 3rd quarter - 2, 4th quarter - 1
Texas A&M converted 12-of-17 third down conversions against the Gamecocks. Only five of those conversions featured an A&M receiver catching the football beyond the first down marker. South Carolina had seven chances to stop Aggie ball carriers short of the marker and could not make the plays.
Plays Where Kenny Hill Was Touched With The Football: 12
1st quarter - 4, 2nd quarter - 4, 3rd quarter - 4, 4th quarter - 0
Officially, Texas A&M ran 99 offensive plays on Thursday night. However, two of those plays were punts and one was a field goal, meaning the Aggie offense was on the field for 96 snaps. Of those 96 plays, Kenny Hill threw 60 times and ran the ball seven. Out of 67 possible opportunities, Hill was hit by a Gamecock defender only 12 times. That means on 87.5% of Texas A&M's offensive snaps, no one touched the quarterback. (Note: I did not include the times Hill was hit after releasing the ball, which couldn't have been more than five).
1st quarter - 1, 2nd quarter - 0, 3rd quarter - 1, 4th quarter - 1
Three of Texas A&M's 96 plays went for negative yardage; Gerald Dixon's sack with 2:55 to go in the first quarter, Skai Moore's sack with 13:10 remaining in the third, and a run play that netted minus-one yard with 4:40 left in the game. A&M's tailbacks ran the ball 32 times on the night and were stopped behind the line of scrimmage once.