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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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Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp attends the Class of 1972 50-year reunion in Kyle Field on April 20, 2022.
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Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
The Battalion May 4, 2024

Battle for The Bonham Trophy: A&M’s defense vs. South Carolina’s offense

Sophomore+DL+Walter+Nolen+%280%29+celebrates+after+sacking+Alabama+QB+Jalen+Milroe+%284%29+during+Texas+A%26amp%3BMs+football+game+against+Alabama+at+Kyle+Field+on+Saturday%2C+Oct.+7%2C+2023.+%28Megan+Williams%2FThe+Aggieland%29
Megan Williams/The Aggieland

Sophomore DL Walter Nolen (0) celebrates after sacking Alabama QB Jalen Milroe (4) during Texas A&M’s football game against Alabama at Kyle Field on Saturday, Oct. 7, 2023. (Megan Williams/The Aggieland)

For a Texas A&M team desperate to crack the win column again, there appears to be a glaring mismatch its defense can take advantage of against the South Carolina offense.
The Gamecocks come into Saturday’s matchup ranked No. 70 in total offense. Their biggest issue is along the offensive line. South Carolina have given up 31 sacks through seven games, ranking No. 127 in the nation in that category.
That stat does not bode well for the Gamecocks, facing an Aggie defense that leads the nation in total team sacks at 29 and total tackles for loss at 65.
Nonetheless, the South Carolina offense still consists of play-makers that the Maroon and White will have to deal with. Redshirt senior quarterback Spencer Rattler has thrown for 1,941 yards and 11 touchdowns while redshirt senior running back Mario Anderson is averaging 5.2 yards a carry.
Throughout his career, Rattler has shown that any given Saturday he can put up elite numbers against elite competition. Last season, Rattler threw for 438 yards and six touchdowns while leading his team to a victory over No. 5 Tennessee before following it up the next week with a 260-yard day through the air and a win over No. 7 Clemson.
Unfortunately for Rattler, this season behind a poor offensive line has not given him the opportunity to put up those types of numbers.
Despite the poor line, Anderson has still been a force in the Gamecocks’ running game. He only has a pair of touchdowns, but has run for 403 yards on 76 attempts.
Anderson may be ineffective this game against an Aggie defense that has been stout all year in the run game, ranking No. 20 in rushing yards per game. On the other hand, A&M’s run defense looked the shakiest it had all year in its last matchup against Tennessee, giving up 232 yards on the ground.
Rattler likes to use his legs too, rushing for 305 yards this season, but the Aggies have also proved they can limit quarterbacks who can hurt you in the running game like Arkansas senior quarterback KJ Jefferson and Alabama’s redshirt sophomore quarterback Jalen Milroe. Jefferson ran for -3 yards while Milroe went for -31.
If the offensive line can buy Rattler time, he has weapons in the passing game to exploit against a weaker Aggie secondary. Fifth-year wide receiver Xavier Leggette is ninth in the nation in total receiving yards at 736, however it is uncertain whether he will play.
Leggette exited the game last week against Missouri due to an upper-body injury, SEC Network reported. His status in the game could play a big role in how effective the Gamecocks offense stacks up against the Aggies defense.
A&M played without sophomore defensive back Bryce Anderson last game while also losing sophomore defensive lineman Walter Nolen later in the game. The status for both of them is unclear, but like Legette, could play a role in how the game shapes out.
Regardless, both sides will be hungry for a win, as the Aggies have lost their last two games and the Gamecocks come in having lost four of their last five.

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