Coverage: SEC NETWORK
6:00 PM ET, August 28, 2014
Williams-Brice Stadium, Columbia, SC
Kenny Hill breaks Manziel passing mark in ending S. Carolina streak
Hill Surpasses Manziel In Opener
Hill broke Manziel's single-game passing record with 511 yards, and No. 21 Texas A&M beat No. 9 South Carolina 52-28 on Thursday night, ending the Gamecocks' 18-game home win streak.
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Hill looked poised and confident in his first start, leading the Aggies (1-0, 1-0 Southeastern Conference) to the most total and passing yards against South Carolina. The sophomore completed 44 of 60 passes with three touchdowns.
The hardest part of his night came after the celebration on the field.
"I just wanted to get the first press conference over with," said Hill, who hadn't spoken with reporters before. "I get nervous up here."
That's a far cry from Manziel, a lightning-rod personality quick to speak his mind and gesture to crowds and opponents. "Johnny Football" rode his flashy style all the way to the Heisman Trophy in his freshman year, and one of the Aggies' biggest worries was whether they could find the same rhythm with a different leader.
Hill made it clear they could.
"We aren't a one-trick pony," Aggies coach Kevin Sumlin said.
But Hill would like a different nickname: "I don't really like 'Kenny Football.'"
Manziel was ready to hand over the nickname after his final NFL preseason game for the Browns later Thursday night.
"Hey," he said as he walked out of the postgame interview room. "You throw for 511 yards ... ."
Manziel also tweeted his excitement for his former teammate and Texas A&M:
KENNY FOOTBALL!!! #GigEm- Johnny Manziel (@JManziel2) August 29, 2014
Love my aggies man great road win!!- Johnny Manziel (@JManziel2) August 29, 2014
Hill helped Texas A&M to a 31-14 halftime lead and finished with the most passing yards allowed in Steve Spurrier's 10 seasons with the Gamecocks (0-1, 0-1).
"I think we all had a chip on our shoulders," Texas A&M defensive lineman Julien Obioha said.
The Gamecocks played their first game since the departure of star defensive end Jadeveon Clowney -- and it showed. South Carolina gave up seven TDs on A&M's first 11 possessions.
Tra Carson ran for three touchdowns, and receiver Malcome Kennedy had 14 catches for 137 yards. The Aggies piled up 680 yards of offense, the most South Carolina has given up since Arkansas went for 650 in 2007.
Manziel held five of the Aggies' six best single-game passing marks, topped by his 464 yards in a loss to Alabama last season. Hill moved past them all with his flawless showing on the road.
Texas A&M fans can stop worrying about the departure of Johnny Manziel. Aggies QB Kenny Hill came out firing on all cylinders Thursday night and shredded South Carolina's defense. Oh, and he bested Manziel's career highs in several categories.
|Pass 1st downs||28||21|
|15+ yd comp||15||12|
|-- ESPN Stats & Information|
"That team was so much better than us, it wasn't funny," said Spurrier, trying for his 200th victory as an SEC coach. "They out-coached us, out-played us, they were better prepared and they knew what they were doing."
Hill's 44 completions also were a single-game school record, moving past Jerrod Johnson's mark against Oklahoma State in 2010.
Hill and the Aggies essentially put this one away in the first half, scoring on five of six possessions. Hill, who played just four games last season in mop-up duty, looked at ease against the Gamecocks and their young defense.
He completed passes to 12 receivers, most of them running free in a rebuilt secondary.
South Carolina, coming off three straight 11-2 seasons, had hoped to kick off a run to the conference title in a Thursday night showcase game on the startup SEC Network.
Manziel, taken 22nd overall by Cleveland, was among three Texas A&M players picked in the first round in May's NFL draft. And the Aggies showed they could still operate without last year's standouts.
"We were ready to prove everyone wrong," Hill said. "We were ready to show we could play without Johnny."
Kennedy had 10 catches for 85 yards in the first two quarters, allowing Aggies fans to rest easy about star Mike Evans moving on to Tampa Bay.
The offensive line provided plenty of time for Hill despite Jake Matthews heading to the NFL's Atlanta Falcons.
The Aggies got going on their first possession, and Carson finished a 67-yard drive with a 1-yard TD.
But Hill and the Aggies were relentless, pressing forward through South Carolina's Clowney-less defense.
Hill, the son of ex-major league pitcher Ken Hill, led TD drives of 75 and 80 yards in the final nine minutes before the half.
The 393 yards of A&M offense at the half were more than South Carolina's defense allowed in nine of 13 games a year ago.
Thompson passed for 366 yards and four touchdowns. Mike Davis, the Gamecocks' 1,000-yard rusher, had 15 yards in the first half before reinjuring his ribs and sitting out the rest of the way.
ESPN.com's Pat McManamon and The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Top 25 Overview
It was over when... Kenny Hill took charge. He broke Johnny Manziel's single-game passing record with 511 yards in the Aggies' rout.
Gameball goes to... Hill, who finished 44-of-60 with three touchdowns and looked like a veteran star, not the successor to a Heisman Trophy winner.
Stat of the game... 21: The Aggies blew the game open with the big second quarter. South Carolina tried to rally, but this was Hill's night.
Team Stat Comparison
|3rd Down Conversions||12-17||2-9|
|4th Down Conversions||2-2||0-1|
|TD||11:27||Tra Carson 1 Yd Run (Josh Lambo Kick)Watch Highlight||7||0|
|FG||5:02||Josh Lambo 33 Yd Field Goal Watch Highlight||10||0|
|TD||3:44||Nick Jones 69 Yd pass from Dylan Thompson (Elliott Fry Kick)Watch Highlight||10||7|
|TD||11:56||Ricky Seals-Jones 3 Yd pass from Kenny Hill (Josh Lambo Kick)Watch Highlight||17||7|
|TD||9:47||Damiere Byrd 46 Yd pass from Dylan Thompson (Elliott Fry Kick)Watch Highlight||17||14|
|TD||7:07||Edward Pope 14 Yd pass from Kenny Hill (Josh Lambo Kick)Watch Highlight||24||14|
|TD||1:16||Tra Carson 2 Yd Run (Josh Lambo Kick)Watch Highlight||31||14|
|TD||11:08||Josh Reynolds 5 Yd pass from Kenny Hill (Josh Lambo Kick)Watch Highlight||38||14|
|TD||7:33||Pharoh Cooper 5 Yd pass from Dylan Thompson (Elliott Fry Kick)Watch Highlight||38||21|
|TD||5:06||Tra Carson 2 Yd Run (Josh Lambo Kick)Watch Highlight||45||21|
|TD||2:38||Nick Jones 10 Yd pass from Dylan Thompson (Elliott Fry Kick)Watch Highlight||45||28|
|TD||12:09||Trey Williams 2 Yd Run (Josh Lambo Kick)Watch Highlight||52||28|
Texas A&M scores a TD its opening drive... South Carolina hadn't allowed 1st-quarter points in a season opener since 2011 vs East Carolina in Charlotte
In his first career start, Kenny Hill set the school record for completions (44) and passing yards (511) in a game. It was also the second-most completions and fifth-most passing yards in a game in SEC history.[+]
Aggies Quarterback Comparison - Kenny Hill Thursday vs Johnny Manziel Career High
South Carolina's 52 points allowed are the most for the Gamecocks AT HOME since a 63-17 loss to Clemson in 2003.
Texas A&M ran 53 plays in the first half against South Carolina. Only twice has an SEC team run more plays in a half of a conference game since Texas A&M joined the league in 2012 ... and both of those games were by the Aggies![+]
Most Snaps in Half - SEC Conference Game in Last 3 Seasons
Entering tonight, South Carolina had allowed 7.1 PPG in the 1st half of season openers under Steve Spurrier... The Gamecocks allowed 31 points to Texas A&M in the 1st half tonight, easily the most in any opener under Spurrier.
With 10 minutes to go in the third quarter, Texas A&M has 181 yards after the catch. Last season, the Aggies averaged an SEC-high 179.8 yards after the catch per game.
Damiere Byrd (SC): 8th career Rec TD. Avg 51.9 yds per Rec TD. Shortest Rec TD was 6 yds vs Mississippi State last season.
Entering tonight, South Carolina has won 3 straight and 5 of the last 6 games in which it trailed at the half.
Entering tonight, South Carolina is 0-8 all-time when trailing by 17+ pts at halftime under Steve Spurrier.... Gamecocks trail Texas A&M 31-14 at halftime tonight
Texas A&M's 31 points are the most South Carolina has allowed in the first half of a home game since 2004.
Only three teams have ever scored more points against a Steve Spurrier coached team. All three went on to win the national championship.[+]
Most Points vs Steve Spurrier Team
ESPN Stats & Information