|Rainier Ehrhardt / Associated Press|
|Kenny Hill showed that Texas A&M's high-powered offense continues to be in capable hands.|
Who needs to fill Johnny Football's shoes? Kenny Hill looks awfully comfortable in his own.
The successor to Johnny Manziel, Hill shredded South Carolina in his first career start Thursday night for a stunning 511 passing yards in a 52-28 victory. That broke the single-game passing record of Manziel (464 yards), who was a Heisman Trophy winner and two-year instant icon for the Aggies. For the night, Hill completed 44 of 60 passes and fired three touchdown passes. It was the kind of performance that signaled the mile-a-minute offense that Aggies fans came to enjoy under Manziel will be in capable hands this fall with Hill, despite his inexperience.
Manziel was a good sport about his record falling so quickly. Following the Cleveland Browns' preseason finale against the Chicago Bears, Manziel was asked about Hill breaking his single-game passing mark and responded, "Kenny Football baby!
If there is a caution flag to be found amid the spectacular nature of Hill's debut as a starter, it's South Carolina's defense. The core of last year's Gamecocks defense -- defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, defensive tackle Kelcy Quarles, and cornerback Vic Hampton -- has left a visibly large void for defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward. It was the highest total of passing yards ever compiled against the Gamecocks in a single game.
Still, it was Hill's night regardless of the competition. He completed passes to nine different receivers in the first half alone, and was decisive both from the pocket and on the run. With star offensive lineman Cedric Ogbuehi protecting his blind side in his first start at left tackle for the Aggies, Hill picked on the Gamecocks' defense whether it was in man or zone coverage. In so doing, he snapped an 18-game home win streak for the Gamecocks.
Follow Chase Goodbread on Twitter @ChaseGoodbread.