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

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

The Battalion

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Photo by FILE

The Aggie defense has totaled eight turnovers this season.

Texas A&M’s game against South Carolina will largely be a battle between two strong defensive lines.

South Carolina’s offense has struggled to this point in the season. The team sits 13th out of the 14 SEC teams in terms of total yards per game. Regardless, the Gamecocks still have talent across the offense, starting with the team’s four running backs.

Junior running back Kevin Harris was second in the SEC last season in rushing yards but has spent this season splitting carries. Senior back Zaquandre White has only appeared in four games but is averaging just under seven yards per carry. Freshman backs Juju McDowell and MarShawn Lloyd have factored in as well, each having rushed for more than 140 yards this year.

“We got a good running back group … with Kevin and MarShawn, [and] the way Juju’s been running the ball,” South Carolina coach Shane Beamer said.

Statistically, the best player on the Gamecocks’ offense this season has been senior wide receiver Josh Vann.

The wideout is 12th in the SEC in receiving yards and averages more than 18 yards per catch. Vann has caught passes from two different quarterbacks this season, but graduate student Zeb Noland is expected to be the starter against the Aggies.

“Vann is excellent,” A&M head coach Jimbo Fisher said. “They brought [Noland] back in and he played really well in the game. They’re coming off a big win.”

The struggling South Carolina offense will face a strong A&M defense that’s allowed an average of only 16 points per game.The defensive pass rushers have been the strong suit of the team, as A&M is second in the SEC in sacks. Three different Aggies have recorded at least three of these.

“Getting after the ball, giving pressure to the QB, making him always have to throw those bad throws, getting after him … that’s pretty much all we do,” A&M junior defensive lineman DeMarvin Leal said.

A&M’s defense has also shown improvement in the turnover department. The Aggies have seven interceptions this year, three of which have come in the last two games.

The Aggies are on a two-game winning streak as they head back home for the week. The No. 17 Aggies host South Carolina at Kyle Field at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 23.

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