It had all the makings of another show out game for the South Carolina Gamecocks: the bright TV lights of the SEC Network, a hot new rivalry, and a Thursday night game.
It was not.
South Carolina's 52-28 loss at the hands of Texas A&M ends an 18-game home winning streak and may end a good bit of the preseason hype the Gamecocks were getting.
There were questions early in the preseason about the Gamecocks defense and whether or not it could still stifle high-powered offenses with crucial personnel losses to the NFL Draft.
It appears those questions are not only not answered, but are now even louder. In the end, the Aggies' up-tempo offense made mincemeat out of the South Carolina defense.
And they did it all without Johnny Manziel.
By the time it was over, the Aggies carved up South Carolina's defense to the tune of over 680 yards and made a Heisman contender out of quarterback Kenny Hill. Seriously, Las Vegas bookies already have him at 20-1 odds to win college football's biggest award with one game under his belt.
Hill himself picked up over 511 yards of offense through the air.
Spurrier, a man known for his vocabulary, kept his criticism direct and pointed.
"It was obvious the oddsmakers didn't know what the heck they were talking about," said Spurrier, referring to the 10.5 spread Las Vegas had in favor of South Carolina.
Spurrier didn't stop there.
"We got manhandled," said Spurrier. "We got clobbered tonight."
"It was a mismatch."
Spurrier wasn't even happy with his offense, who had a fairly decent showing against the Aggie defense. Quarterback Dylan Thompson went 20 for 40 for 366 yards and four touchdowns.
Thompson saddled himself with some of the blame.
"I thought our game plan was good," said Thompson. "I have to do a better job of managing the offense. We have to be efficient and we weren't."
The visibly disappointed Thompson also answered very few questions in the post-game news conference.
"It honestly doesn't matter how I played tonight," said Thompson. "I'm not really interested in evaluating myself."
Gamecocks defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward took the brunt of responsibility for the defensive collapse.
"I think it's got to start with me as a coach," said Ward. "I didn't have the guys ready to play like I thought I did."
Ward will have to go back to the drawing board quickly. He says the next week of practice will involve coaching technique and the fundamentals -- mainly tackling.
The Gamecocks had a tackling problem for the entire game. Still, Ward says he believed his team had a solid game plan to deal with the Aggies.
"They did exactly what we prepared for. I thought we'd do better. I thought we'd tackle better," said Ward.
South Carolina players say a short-term memory will help them recover from the staggering loss as they prepare for the East Carolina Pirates next week.
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