Twenty-five thoughts and takeaways from South Carolina's 35-28 loss to Texas A&M:
1. Shawn Elliiott is taking advantage of this interim opportunity. He had his team ready to play and folks are taking notice of what he's doing.
2. Perry Orth did what Perry Orth does. He made some plays that really surprised and impressed you and he made some decisions that made you want to pull your hair out. He is playing at his ceiling and he's the best quarterback available for South Carolina.
3. South Carolina's unwillingness to have a spy on Kyler Murray the entire game was head-scratching. Then again, so is a lot of things the Gamecocks have done defensively this season.
4. David Williams looked like a complete tailback on Saturday. Ran well, made plays in the passing game, picked up some key blocks...it appears Williams is finally putting it all together.
5. Skai Moore would like to throw his hat in the ring for defensive coordinator. Whatever he suggested at halftime worked. It's just a little disconcerting that a player helped do that job that several coaches are being paid handsomely to do.
6. South Carolina was as creative in the red zone against Texas A&M as I can remember it being in the last decade. Reverses, misdirection pitches, options, the Gamecocks did a complete 180 from their red-zone performance against Vanderbilt.
7. The offensive playcalling as a whole continues to be entertaining and wide-open under G.A. Mangus. South Carolina executed better than two weeks ago and it led to some fun moments for Gamecock fans.
8. The Gamecocks seem to rarely disguise blitzes or coverages. I can't think of another college football team that consistently doesn't do either.
9. Shawn Elliott is not Steve Spurrier, but channeling the HBC might have helped him out on Saturday. Anything around midfield probably should have been four-down territory for the Gamecocks, but Elliott seemed to trust his defense with a long field. More often than not, it backfired on him.
10. Kudos to Elliott Fry on becoming the school-record holder for extra points attempted and made. Will be remembered as one of, if not the, best kickers in program history.
11. Sean Kelly continues to ball. 54-yarder and three punts inside the 20.
12. The loss seemed to really hurt the Gamecock players. A genuine belief that they could go into College Station and win says a lot about the mindset of this team.
13. There is renewed energy on the South Carolina sideline. That energy isn't always translating to success on the field, but it's a start.
14. As expected, Texas A&M's uniforms looked utterly ridiculous.
15. Gamecock opponents have yet to see a slant pass they didn't love.
16. Brandon Wilds is back. Two consecutive 100-plus yard outings and some impressive runs on Saturday.
17. Kyler Murray's performance is a frightening sign for a defense that is about to face Josh Dobbs and Deshaun Watson.
18. South Carolina's defense doesn't have the talent to shut out teams, but it seems the Gamecocks could have chances to make big plays when put in positions to be successful. Unfortunately for the players, that doesn't seem to be happening very often.
19. Good to see Hayden Hurst's role in the offense increasing.
20. The wide receivers collectively had a solid day. Meaningful catches from Jeffery, Neal and Cooper.
21. Surprised Jerell Adams wasn't a bigger part of the offense.
22. Whatever slim hopes South Carolina had for a bowl game likely ended Saturday.
23. The Gamecock offense will probably have to play as well, if not better, against Tennessee if South Carolina wants to score an upset in Knoxville.
24. Overall, game was probably 55-45 positive-negative for the Gamecocks. A loss still hurts, but good things at several different points on Saturday.
25. Duke won that football game.