- Associated Press - Saturday, October 31, 2015

COLLEGE STATION, Texas (AP) - South Carolina interim coach Shawn Elliott got the stop he needed from his defense. The Gamecocks never got a chance to go for the win at Texas A&M.;

After stopping the Aggies at midfield to force a punt with 1:28 left Saturday, South Carolina quarterback Perry Orth was sacked on consecutive plays before an incompletion and then a game-clinching interception as Texas A&M; held on for a 35-28 victory.

“We need to make a few more plays offensively. The defense gave us the opportunity there at the end,” Elliott said. “We were going to go for two to win had we scored. I told the defense right before that third-down play, get it back and we’re going to go down and go for the win. Unfortunately it didn’t work out for us.”

Highly touted true freshman quarterback Kyler Murray ran 20 times for 156 yards with the go-ahead touchdown, and threw for 223 yards and another score in his starting debut as the Aggies (6-2, 3-2 SEC) ended a two-game slide.

Brandon Wilds ran for 128 yards and two scores for the Gamecocks (3-5, 1-5) in their second game under Elliott since the retirement of Steve Spurrier. They won Elliott’s debut 19-10 over Vanderbilt two weeks ago before an open date.

The game was tied three times before Texas A&M; went ahead 28-21 in the third quarter on Allen’s 1-yard keeper on fourth down, when he faked a handoff to Tra Carson (122 yards rushing and a touchdown) and then swept left to score untouched on the Aggies’ opening drive after halftime.

“He fooled a lot of people and walked in,” Aggies coach Kevin Sumlin said.

Less than 2 minutes later, Donovan Wilson returned an interception 60 yards to put the Aggies up 35-21.

“Perry played pretty well. … If he could have that one throw back,” Elliott said. “Tale of two plays. Hit the guy behind him and it goes for 30 to 40 yards. Just one of those misreads. … Definitely a momentum killer.”

Orth was 15 of 24 for 192 yards with the two picks, both by Wilson, and was sacked four times. The former walk-on quarterback also had a 66-yard run and Elliott reiterated that Orth will continue to be the Gamecocks starter.

Sumlin re-opened the competition for the A&M;’s quarterback job this week, and Murray was announced as the starter Friday. Murray, who led Allen High to three consecutive Texas state championships and was undefeated as a starter at the Dallas-area school, completed 20 of 28 passes.

“Poise,” receiver Ricky Seals-Jones said when asked what he saw from the freshman. “The first couple of series, he said he was kind of nervous. But then after he said that, he got stable and he let it rip and let it go and made plays.”

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.

Lorenzo Nunez, a true freshman who started two games at quarterback for the Gamecocks earlier this season, was lined up as a receiver when he scored on a 7-yard reverse to tie the game at 7-7. Orth scored on a 6-yard run early in the second quarter for a 14-7 lead.

“We just didn’t get the job done, nonetheless we saw improvements in our football team,” Elliott said. “A loss is a loss, and we understand that, and we’re very, very disappointed in what we didn’t accomplish. But they need to understand we improved as a group, as a team, as a staff. It’s a process.”

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