COLUMBIA, SC (AP) - Texas A&M has done this before. The No. 9 Aggies beat South Carolina 24-13 on Saturday to start their third season in a row at 5-0.
In 2014 and 2015, the Aggies (5-0, 3-0 Southeastern) finished 3-5, but this season, coach Kevin Sumlin sees a team prepared to handle adversity. After all, they overcame having four starters out for injuries and giving up a 75-yard touchdown run on the first play from scrimmage to win a SEC game on the road.
"They settled down after that first play. There was never panic on the sideline. There was never guys pressing — defense keeping us in the game, offense moving the ball in the second half," Sumlin said.
Trevor Knight, who came into the game second in the SEC in total offense, threw for 206 yards and ran for 84 more. After that opening TD run from A.J. Turner, the Aggies allowed just 142 yards over the next three quarters and kept South Carolina (2-3, 1-3) from getting in the end zone again.
Knight also had a fumble and an interception, but the senior said that didn't dampen his enthusiasm at the Aggies start.
"There's no such thing as an ugly win. Every time you get a win it's a big time deal. We still have a zero after that dash," Knight said.
The Gamecocks had chances to end their six-game losing streak to ranked opponents, but kicker Elliot Fry missed two field goals and Jamarcus King fumbled a punt with 3:12 left in the game.
"We're doing a lot of things better but we don't have a lot of margin for error," South Carolina coach Will Muschamp said.