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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

Kenny & the gang

Photo+provided%0AIn+the+first+game+of+the+season%2C+sophomore+quarterback+Kenny+Hill+sets+a+new+school+record+with+511+passing+yards.
Photo provided In the first game of the season, sophomore quarterback Kenny Hill sets a new school record with 511 passing yards.

Kenny Hill had the performance of a lifetime in the Aggies’ opener against South Carolina. Setting a school record with 511 passing yards, Hill sliced and diced the Gamecocks’ secondary to pieces with artistic fashion. Nobody — not you, not me and especially not Steve Spurrier — NOBODY saw it coming.
Well, except perhaps Kevin Sumlin.
However, impressive as Hill was — which is no understatement, his performance was nothing short of flawless — the thing that stood out Thursday was the arsenal Hill carried into battle. The “G-Unit,” A&M’s self-derived nickname for its wide receiver corps, dominated the Gamecocks for four straight quarters and made it look easy.
“We trust every single person that goes out there and plays receiver for us,” Hill said after the game. “To have those kinds of weapons, it’s unreal. You can’t stop that.”
Hill spread the ball around to 12 different receivers, with only senior Malcome Kennedy breaking the 100-yard mark. For a team that lost its No. 1 and No. 2 receivers from 2013 in Mike Evans and Derel Walker, that couldn’t be a better sign.
“That’s one of our recruiting tools,” Sumlin said. “There’s only one football, but we like to get it to a bunch of different guys and we don’t wear one player out.”
The sole veteran at wide receiver, Kennedy played a major role in helping Hill become the first Aggie to pass for more than 500 yards in a game, and the fifth-year senior set the tone for his squad with career highs in receptions and receiving yards with 14 and 137, respectively.
“I’m a leader on the team now,” Kennedy said. “I’ve been here five years and I’ve seen a lot. Football is a game of intelligence. You play for a while, you learn the ins and outs and you know what to do.”
A&M’s two-deep depth chart at wide out is stacked, and it showed in the way South Carolina’s defense was unable to key in on any particular receiver, including Kennedy. The way the offense adapted to adversity throughout the game was particularly impressive.
Early in the first quarter, Hill completed a big third-down conversion to tight end Cameron Clear, who went out of the game a few minutes later due to injury. Sumlin said Clear had factored in to the offensive game plan in a big way, and without him the coaching staff had to modify its attack. Redshirt freshman Ricky Seals-Jones became the primary offensive threat, making a huge impact totaling 67 yards and a touchdown.
Even better: Of Seals-Jones’s five catches, four came in the first half. Why does that matter? A&M was able to sustain success through the air in the second half, and after riding the hot hand early the team used Seals-Jones as a distraction to open up the rest of A&M’s receivers. Between Speedy Noil, Josh Reynolds, Sabian Holmes and Edward Pope, South Carolina couldn’t keep up as A&M drilled them from every which way.
So taking nothing away from Hill, whose sky is certainly the limit, the cast around him is unbelievably talented, albeit a bit unexperienced. Apparently that doesn’t mean much. First impressions indicate stopping Hill and the gang won’t be easy, and the Aggie offense looks poised to continue wrecking havoc across the SEC this season.

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