The Bonham Trophy has no idea it has two parents, one living in South Carolina.
Texas A&M and South Carolina have played for the (semi-)coveted Bonham every year since 2014, and every year the Aggies have retained possession of the miniscule structure of the South Carolinian-turned-Texan on a horse.
Last I heard the little guy was in the basement of the Alamo or Rick Perry’s office or some such. On to five things to watch with the mighty Bonham once again on the line starting 6 p.m. CT in Williams-Brice Stadium on ESPN:
The No. 7 Aggies’ unflappable senior quarterback is working his way up the NFL Draft boards halfway through the season, with the best play of his career. Last time the Aggies were on the road, however, he was OK but not great in A&M’s 28-14 win at Mississippi State on Oct. 17.
He’s been superb at Kyle Field, and a little more inconsistent on the road (he had a good game in the Aggies’ 52-24 loss at No. 2 Alabama in the second week of the season). Honestly, the road sample size is too small right now to say there’s a big difference in his home and away play, but we should know much more by Saturday night.
The Gamecocks’ bowling ball in a helmet is second in the SEC in rushing with 535 yards, and you can bet South Carolina coach Will Muschamp will lean heavily on Harris to eat up possession time and keep the ball out of the hands of Mond and the Aggies offense.
A&M has been solid against the run this season, but Arkansas a week ago rushed for 222 yards, shoving the Aggies from fifth nationally to 17th against the run (from 76 yards per game to 105 ypg). Speaking of A&M’s on-again, off-again defense …
Fast starts (and finishes)
Last week the Razorbacks up-tempo offense walloped the Aggies on Arkansas’s opening drive, and the score was 7-0 before the 25,000 or so fans on hand at Kyle Field had grabbed their popcorn. Topping it off, the Razorbacks marched down the field on their final drive and scored with 36 seconds remaining to give the game a much closer final score (42-31) than what it seemed over the four quarters.
If A&M’s defense doesn’t tighten its belt, especially for starters, things could be much tougher on the road for a team with designs on the College Football Playoff.
Hez (back) in the house
Mond was relieved to see Hezekiah Jones back in the lineup against Arkansas – because it meant the Aggies actually had an upperclassman once again in the receivers’ two-deep.
Jones, in his first action since 2018, caught five passes for 47 yards and provided much-needed leadership to a young bunch in need of it. The Aggies have lost upperclassmen Jhamon Ausbon (opt out), Cam Buckley and Caleb Chapman (injuries) this season, so it’s been especially impressive what Mond has done minus veteran pass catchers.
Neither team can cite weather conditions on this one – the National Weather Service calls for partly cloudy skies, temperatures in the high 60s by midway through and a light breeze. Not exactly perfect football weather if you’re one of those “it’s got to be cold if it’s truly football” folks – but pretty much ideal for those in attendance on a pleasant night near the Congaree River.