COLUMBIA, S.C. (MCT) -- Williams-Brice Stadium, where South Carolina had won 18 straight games, couldn't save the Gamecocks.
Steve Spurrier's 23-1 record in season-openers couldn't save them.
Connor Shaw and Jadeveon Clowney certainly couldn't save them, although they might not have been able to help even if they had been in attendance.
Looking to prove it could soldier on after the loss of its all-time winningest quarterback and two-time All-America defensive end, No. 9 South Carolina fell flat on its face Thursday night in a 52-28 loss to No. 21 Texas A&M.
"I think our players are better than what they showed, but I don't know," said Spurrier, who suffered the worst home loss of his career, fell to 23-2 all-time in collegiate season-openers and will have to wait at least another week to become the third coach in history to win 200 games as an SEC head coach.
The difference in the game was the ability of the Aggies offense to keep right on rolling without quarterback Johnny Manziel, and the Gamecocks defense's complete inability to do much of anything without Clowney.
Texas A&M sophomore quarterback Kenny Hill took advantage of the ample time he had to throw by completing 44 of 60 passes for 511 yards, the most ever against South Carolina. He completed passes to 12 different players, threw three touchdown passes and led an offense that ran 99 plays and gained 680 yards, another record for a Gamecock opponent.
"I thought we would play a lot better," Spurrier said. "I have been reading like you guys have about our new 3-4 defense. Did anybody like that 3-4 defense? But I don't know if it would have mattered if we'd have played a 6-6 defense. I don't know if 12 out there would have helped that much."
As ugly as the statistics sheet was, the live version was even worse. Afterward, Spurrier marveled at the fact his team entered the game as a 10.5-point favorite.
"It was obvious the odds-makers didn't know what they were doing. That team out there was much better than us," he said. "Shoot, they knew what they were doing. I don't know what you can say. If we played them again, they'd be a three-touchdown favorite."
It marked the first time South Carolina had given up more than 50 points since a 56-17 loss to Auburn in the 2010 SEC Championship game and the first time it had given up more than 50 at home since a 51-31 loss to Florida in 2007.
Leading returning rusher Mike Davis "took himself out" of the game in the second half due to a rib bruise, Spurrier said, and finished with six carries for 15 yards. Quarterback Dylan Thompson threw for 366 yards, four touchdowns and one interception.