COLLEGE STATION, Texas (AP) — Highly touted true freshman quarterback Kyler Murray ran for 156 yards and threw for 223 more in his first start for Texas A&M, and the Aggies ended a two-game slide with a 35-28 win over South Carolina on Saturday.
Tra Carson added 122 yards rushing and a touchdown and Donovan Wilson had a 60-yard interception return for the Aggies (6-2, 3-2 SEC), who played the first of three consecutive home games.
Brandon Wilds ran for 128 yards and two scores for the Gamecocks (3-5, 1-5) in their second game under interim coach Shawn Elliott since the resignation of Steve Spurrier. They won Elliott's debut 19-10 over Vanderbilt two weeks ago before an open date.
Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin re-opened the competition for the starting quarterback job this week, and Murray was named the starter Friday. Murray completed 20 of 28 passes with a touchdown, and ran 20 times with the go-ahead score.
Kyle Allen threw 13 touchdowns with two interceptions as Texas A&M started 5-0. But the sophomore had three interceptions returned for touchdowns by Alabama in a 41-23 home loss, and was 1-of-16 passing in the second half (the only completion lost yards) of a 23-3 loss at Ole Miss last week.
Murray led Allen High to three consecutive Texas state championships and went undefeated as a starter in the Dallas-area school.
The game was tied three times before Texas A&M went ahead 28-21 on Allen's 1-yard keeper on fourth down, when he faked a handoff to Carson and then swept left and scored untouched on the Aggies' opening drive after halftime.
Less than 2 minutes later, Wilson's pick-six put the Aggies up 35-21.
On the second play of the game, Murray gained 14 yards on a quarterback draw play. He had another 14-yard run and a 13-yard pass as the Aggies got to the 2 before Taylor Bertolet was wide right on a 25-yard field goal attempt.
Murray threw a 10-yard touchdown pass to Josh Reynolds on the second drive, when he completed all four of his passes for 55 yards and had a 5-yard run.
The Gamecocks went ahead 14-7 early in the second quarter after former walk-on quarterback Perry Orth rolled right on an option play. When linebacker Shaan Washington drifted toward the running back, Orth cut up the field and scored untouched from the 6.
True freshman quarterback Lorenzo Nunez, lined up at receiver, scored on a 7-yard reverse for South Carolina.
There was an announced crowd of 102,154 at Kyle Field, but there were a lot of empty seats. Heavy rains and flooding in Texas over the previous 24 hours made travel difficult, if not impossible, for many fans, especially those from the Houston area.
The game was played under cloudy skies, but there was no rain and there were no issues with the grass field because of the drainage system underneath it.