Final Score: Texas A&M 52, South Carolina 28
Someone forgot to tell Kenny Hill he wasn’t going to be able to fill Johnny Manziel’s shoes.
Hill didn’t just turn in an impressive performance Thursday night against South Carolina in his first career start. The Texas A&M sophomore turned in a performance for the ages, torching the ninth-ranked Gamecocks to the tune of 511 passing yards and 3 touchdowns and immediately inserting himself into conversations about the best quarterbacks in the country as A&M cruised to a 52-28 rout.
Kenny Hill Made South Carolina Fans Miserable All Night
South Carolina fans headed for the exits in the fourth quarter as Hill continued to pick away at the Gamecocks defense.
Hill’s final numbers were off the charts for anyone, let alone a player making his first career start: 44-for-60-passing for 3 touchdowns and no interceptions.
He led the Aggies to a touchdown on their first drive and kept it going from there, leading at least one touchdown drive in every corner to give A&M plenty of breathing room against a dangerous South Carolina offense led by fifth-year senior quarterback Dylan Thompson.
Texas A&M Had 680 Yards of Total Offense
A&M had nearly 700 yards of total offense despite not having a 100-yard rusher.
Malcome Kennedy was the biggest beneficiary of Hill’s lights-out passing, catching a team-high 14 passes for 137 yards. Josh Reynolds (6 catches for 76 yards), Edward Pope (4 for 75) and Ricky Seals-Jones (5 for 67) all caught touchdown passes.
Tra Carson had just 7 carries for 30 yards, but 3 of those carries went for touchdowns. Trey Williams had 13 carries for a team-high 78 carries and a touchdown.
Hill Was Making People Forget About Johnny Football Before Halftime
Kenny Hill’s stat line in the first half of his first career start: 27-for-35 passing, 299 yards, 2 touchdowns and no interceptions while leading 4 touchdown drives.
Hill’s second strike — a 14-yard pass to Edward Pope — made it 24-14 Aggies with 7:07 left in the half. (Watch the video above.) He led yet another scoring drive — his fourth of the game — that culminated in a 2-yard Tra Carson touchdown run with 1:16 left in the half, giving the Aggies a 31-14 lead at the break.
Ricky Seals-Jones Got Into the Endzone Again & This Time it Counted
Kenny Hill is making himself known! Finds Ricky Seals-Jones for the TD, Aggies lead 17-7 in early 2nd quarter. Hill: 16-20, 172 yards, TD
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) August 28, 2014
Ricky Seals-Jones, who was ruled down at the 1-yard-line after an apparent first quarter touchdown, got into the endzone again, and this time the points counted.
Seals-Jones caught a 3-yard pass from Kenny Hill with 11:56 left in the third quarter to put A&M up 17-7.
It didn’t take long for the Gamecocks to answer, though. Just six plays later, Dylan Thompson hit Damiere Byrd for a 46-yard touchdown that made it 17-14 with 9:47 left in the half.
A&M Led 10-7 After 1
Some key first quarter stats:
Tra Carson: 4 carries for 23 yards and 1 touchdown
Brandon Williams: 3 carries for 17 yards
Mike Davis: 5 carries for 18 yards
Nick Jones: 1 catch for 69 yards and 1 touchdown
Josh Reynolds: 2 catches for 22 yards
Ricky Seals-Jones: 1 catch for 22 yards
Dylan Thompson Hit Nick Jones for a 69-Yard Touchdown
— FOX Sports Live (@FOXSportsLive) August 28, 2014
The Gamecocks were down 10-0 when Dylan Thompson let one fly and hit Nick Jones for a 69-yard touchdown pass with 3:44 left in the first quarter.
Jones broke away down the middle of the field and went into the endzone untouched, bringing what had been a nervous crowd fully back to life.
Tra Carson Put A&M on the Board
Welcome back, Aggies. A&M scores on their first drive of the season. Tra Carson with the 1 yd run. QB Kenny Hill very impressive. 7-0 Aggies
— Daniel Gotera (@DTGoteraKHOU) August 28, 2014
Texas A&M got into the endzone twice on its opening drive. The first time came when Ricky Seals-Jones caught what looked like a touchdown pass from Kenny Hill. But officials reviewed the play and ruled Seals-Jones down at the 1 yard line.
That was no sweat for A&M, though. Tra Carson scored on the Aggies’ next play, completing a 9-play, 67-yard scoring drive. Not bad for the first drive of Kenny Hill’s career as the A&M starter.
Hill led the Aggies on another scoring drive later in the quarter, driving A&M into Gamecocks territory for a 33-yard Josh Lambo field goal that made it 10-0 with 5:02 left in the quarter.