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South Carolina vs. Mississippi State, recap and final score: Bulldogs drop Gamecocks, 27-14

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NCAA Football: South Carolina at Mississippi State Matt Bush-USA TODAY Sports

After a little optimism surrounded the Gamecocks program after their victory over Vanderbilt and Mississippi State’s loss to South Alabama last week, the Bulldogs came out with a chip on their shoulder. There was no letdown for MSU this week as they rolled over the Gamecocks, 27-14, at Davis Wade Stadium on Saturday night.

Thunderstorms rolled through the Starkville region at halftime, but it was MSU bringing the thunder and lighting on the field as they marched to a 24-0 lead before the break. In what has become a recurring theme in recent years, an average or inexperienced quarterback was able to pad his stats against the Gamecocks. Nick Fitzgerald, Dak Prescott’s former backup, picked up 195 yards on the ground - a school record for a QB and smashing his predecessor’s career high of 154 - while adding 147 yards through the air. Fred Ross and Donald Gray combined for 110 of those yards and added a pair of TDs as the Bulldogs shook off their week one loss to the Jaguars. Credit to Fitzgerald as he needed to bounce back from a poor showing last week that led to him being benched, and he responded in a big way.

Neither Gamecocks quarterback was particularly efficient in this one. Perry Orth was 9-17 for just 83 yards before giving way to Brandon McIlwain after halftime. McIlwain was 11-22 for 126 yards and two scores, but looked wildly inaccurate as he overshot receivers on multiple occasions and showed some freshman tendencies throughout the half. The offensive line wasn’t much help as they allowed three sacks and failed to get any push to allow A.J. Turner to pick up much on the ground. Turner finished with just 32 yards on 16 carries.

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