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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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One step away
June 8, 2024

Aggies rise in the national ranks after Saturday’s victory over South Carolina

Texas+A%26M+vs.+South+Carolina
Photo by The Daily Gamecock
Texas A&M vs. South Carolina

In a head-to-head battle that ended with a touchdown in the last few minutes of the game, No. 22 Texas A&M defeated the South Carolina Gamecocks 26-23 for their third consecutive SEC win, sending the Aggies up to a No. 17 ranking.
The South Carolina offense was not doing well against a strong A&M defensive front in the first half, and the Gamecocks went into halftime down 13-0. However, this all began to change in the second half. The Gamecocks put themselves on the board with two touchdowns within four minutes of each other, as junior quarterback Jack Bentley threw a 22-yard pass to Shi Smith and a 33-yard pass to Chavis Dawkins.
Even with the two touchdowns, the Aggies would have had a two-point lead over their opponent if it hadn’t been for the two successful two-point conversions from South Carolina’s junior wide receiver Bryan Edwards, who scored from a pass by Bentley in both instances. This move tied up the game at 16.
Head coach Jimbo Fisher said this win, although tough, showed major improvement for the team and he is looking forward to the off week to re-evaluate and study game film.
“The way we compete — we’ve got some guys with some heart and toughness now, I’ll say that,” Fisher said. “We’re learning how to win, we’re learning how to play better and we’re still a work in progress. We’re nowhere close, [and] that’s the interesting thing. We can get a lot better.”
Despite the close score, A&M dominated time of possession. The Aggies controlled 41 minutes and 29 seconds of the game, allowing the Gamecocks no more than six minutes in each quarter.
The one problem seemed to be A&M’s consistent penalties and targeting calls. The Aggies had 12 penalties for a loss of 117 yards and two defensive ejections. A&M converted three of their 13 third downs, instead relying heavily on field goals.
Senior linebacker Otaro Alaka said the high number of A&M penalties and the loss of Debione Renfro and Donovan Wilson to targeting calls in the first and fourth quarters are issues the team will need to address during practice this week.
“Those penalties, we just can’t have them,” Alaka said. “Those are undisciplined and uncalled for, so I think we’ll probably work on those as well.”
With sophomore wide receiver Jhamon Ausbon out with an ankle injury, the A&M receiving corps was led by junior wide receiver Quartney Davis who took Ausbon’s place as the primary target.
Davis led the pack with nine receptions, but was second in receiving yards with 127, behind Jace Sternberger’s 145 receiving yards. 
Junior tight end Jace Sternberger broke A&M’s record for most touchdowns in a single season by a tight end, as he scored his sixth touchdown of the season in the second quarter.
Meanwhile, the Aggies’ rushing game was led by junior running back Trayveon Williams, who had one touchdown of his own and finished with 82 rushing yards.
Sternberger said breaking the record would not be possible without the support from his coaches and teammates this season.
“To be able to play for this university in general is just a blessing,” Sternberger said. “It all goes back to the hard work you put in behind the scenes that no one sees and to finally get rewarded for it, it feels good.”
With this win, the Aggies will move to a 5-2 record and 3-1 in overall SEC play.
A&M will hit the field again on Oct. 27 against the Mississippi State Bulldogs in Starkville, Mississippi.

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