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August 29, 2014

What you may've missed



-- Avery Wilks, Rixon Lane, Chris Wellbaum, Chris Clark and Wes Mitchell contributed to this report.

A look at some notes and tidbits surrounding South Carolina's 52-28 defeat at the hands of Texas A&M Thursday night.

--- Watching Texas A&M punter Drew Kaser during warmups before the second half, one can tell why he's an All-American and one of the best in the country. That guy can absolutely hammer the ball. It has a different sound and a different look when he kicks it.

--- USC student, retired U.S. Marine and Medal of Honor recipient Kyle Carpenter was the celebrity starter for the game. He led the crowd in the "Game-cocks" chant before kickoff.

--- Texas A&M had an aggressive game plan on offense in the first place. But the most interesting thing about it to me, was that even up big late in the third quarter, they kept running their regular offense rather than going into a conservative game plan and trying to run clock. They were not only still putting the ball in the air, but also were still snapping the ball with tons of time on the play clock. It obviously didn't help them keep the clock moving, but it did allow them to continue to run their style of offense and the Gamecocks couldn't stop it.

--- With the loss, the Gamecocks' 18-game home winning streak, the country's longest, came to an end. With 16 straight wins, Stanford is officially the owner of the longest home winning streak, followed by Ohio State (15), and Fresno State (13). However, the record is a bit murky. Northern Illinois has won 26 straight games at home, which would have put them ahead of the Gamecocks all along. However, the NCAA considers a 2012 loss to Iowa at Soldier Field in Chicago a home loss, despite not being played at the Huskies' normal home field. They are officially credited with 11 straight home wins.

--- Even though the Gamecock defense had a rough night, several players on that side of the ball were still showing pride in their play. Before one A&M series later in the game with the team still down by a substantial margin, Brison Williams and Bryson Allen-Williams were seen nodding at each other in support and shaking hands before the first play, along with a couple other members of the defense.

--- Brandon Wilds started at tailback in place of Mike Davis, who had been hampered by injuries in fall camp. Davis missed South Carolina's first offensive drive before entering the game with 5:02 left in the first quarter.

--- South Carolina generally lines up its defensive personnel in the secondary based on which hash the ball is on with a specific cornerback lining up to the field and the other to the boundary. Against A&M's hurry-up spread attack, Carolina appeared to line up with a left and right cornerback (to the same side each time) in order to keep the corners from having to run from sideline to sideline prior to each play.

--- Quarterback-turned-tight end Brendan Nosovitch warmed up with the quarterbacks during pregame, working in the Wildcat formation. He didn't record a stat during the game.

--- There seemed to be a lot of dejection after one play in particular on defense, when an A&M receiver got behind true freshman Al Harris Jr. for a touchdown in the back of the end zone. A couple other members of the Gamecock secondary seemed to just freeze where they were standing.

--- Twenty-five NFL scouts attended the game, including one from the New York Giants, Denver Broncos, Philadelphia Eagles, San Diego Chargers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Tennessee Titans, Seattle Seahawks, New Orleans Saints, New England Patriots, Kansas City Chiefs, Indianapolis Colts, Atlanta Falcons and Oakland Raiders and two from the San Francisco 49ers, Buffalo Bills, Baltimore Ravens, Cleveland Browns, Carolina Panthers and New York Jets.

--- A&M's play took the crowd out of the game at many points last night. USC's fan base has helped to create an excellent game day atmosphere that helped the Gamecocks to an 18 game winning streak, but there has also been plenty to cheer about in that time span. A&M jumping out to an early lead and the Gamecocks never being able to catch up meant that with the exception of some big plays or big downs, the stadium was more quiet than usual.

--- Dylan Thompson's first three pass attempts were incomplete. In Connor Shaw's first season-opening start, the 2011 game against East Carolina, his first three passes also fell incomplete.

--- USC's captains for the game were Brison Williams, Dylan Thompson, A.J. Cann and J.T. Surratt. Those four players also graced the cover of USC's media guide for the season.

--- Linebackers coach Kirk Botkin talked in the preseason about wanting a little more effort from sophomore linebacker Skai Moore. And obviously the coaches were trying to send a message to Moore by not starting him. But give him credit, he was still chasing plays down from behind with Carolina down big late in the game. Obviously, you expect that from all players in a perfect world, but we know that's not always the case.

--- Former pro wrestler Ric Flair was on the Gamecocks sideline, as well as former defensive end Chaz Sutton.

--- USC announced that 82,847 fans were in attendance on Thursday night. The game marked the eighth consecutive sellout at Williams-Brice Stadium and the 11th in the last 13 games.

--- The Gamecocks fell to 22-3 in the "big-game garnet" uniforms under Steve Spurrier. The loss was South Carolina's first while wearing all-garnet since the 2010 SEC Championship.

--- The fireworks usually reserved for the "rockets red glare" line of the national anthem were fired prematurely during the pregame festivities.

--- South Carolina's women's volleyball team was honored during the first quarter.

--- Sharrod Golightly and Marcquis Roberts were the first Gamecocks to lead the team onto the field during "2001."

GamecockCentral.com Gameday Guide


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