South Carolina Gamecocks vs. Texas A&M Aggies
Date and Time: Saturday, September 30, 2017, 7:30 p.m. ET
Location: Kyle Field, College Station, TX
Opening College Football Odds: Texas A&M -8
South Carolina vs. Texas A&M TV Coverage: SEC Network
Kellen Mond has had a lot of ups and downs over the course of his season already, but he had a fantastic moment against Arkansas. Mond only threw for 216 yards, but he was unstoppable with his legs, running for 109 yards, a part of a 285-yard effort on the ground for A&M.
Mond’s crowning moment came on an 11-play, 40-yard drive in which he guided the team to a field goal at the end of regulation to force overtime. All of that came at the conclusion of a wild fourth quarter that saw the two teams combine to score 34 points complete with four lead changes.
That’s the type of victory that can really propel a team to the next level, and the Aggies really have to not let this slip against South Carolina.
The Gamecocks, though, aren’t exactly going to be easy guests to deal with in College Station. South Carolina is 3-1 as well, and is still has a pretty good deck to play the rest of the year in hopes of challenging for the SEC East title.
That said, the offense has to step it up again. After a couple good games against N.C. State and Missouri at the outset of the season, the Gamecocks have struggled against Kentucky and Louisiana Tech, combining to score just 30 points in the two games.
Special teams could end up playing a huge role in this game. South Carolina won the game last week on Parker White’s first career field goal after four misses. The Gamecocks are now just 2-for-8 on field goals this season and only 12-for-13 on extra points. They haven’t made a kick beyond 40 yards this year.
Meanwhile, Daniel LaCamera is one of the better kickers in the SEC. He hasn’t missed from inside of 50 yards this season, and he’s been good with his kickoffs as well.
Speaking of kick returns, Christian Kirk had a 100-yard kick return for a touchdown in the fourth quarter of that game against the Hogs last week. As a team, Texas A&M is averaging 27.1 yards per kick return this season.
Toss in Shane Tripucka’s 47.1 yards per punt, and you’ve got the makings of a huge special teams mismatch in this one.
South Carolina vs. Texas A&M Free Picks
And that’s set to be the difference in this one, we feel. The fact that the Gamecocks can’t kick a field goal to save their lives essentially puts the whole game on the back of Jake Bentley and his rather inexperienced offense. If South Carolina can march into the end zone, it can score. If it can’t get all the way past the goal-line, it’s literally Russian Roulette when it comes to the kicking game.
Though we don’t feel like the Aggies are the obvious choice in this game, they’re certainly going to be helped by both home field advantage and special teams. If they’ve got a three-point edge being at home and get the leg up with a field goal or so in the special teams department, all of the college football sportsbooks are going to try to tell us that the Aggies are only two-points better than South Carolina. That’s a joke, and everyone in SEC Country knows it.
College Football ATS Pick: Texas A&M -8 at BookMaker.eu
College Football Score Prediction: Texas A&M 30, South Carolina 17