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South Carolina falls to Ole Miss 59-42 in shootout

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Defense was extremely optional in Oxford

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 10 South Carolina at Vanderbilt Photo by Matthew Maxey/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The South Carolina Gamecocks and Ole Miss Rebels did a whole lot of scoring and almost no defending in Oxford on Saturday night, racking up more than 1,200 total yards combined and over 100 total points, as both teams traded scores all game before it ended 59-42 in the home team’s favor.

South Carolina got off to a good start, scoring on the opening drive thanks to Kevin Harris and Shi Smith, who basically are the offense at this point. After a few runs by Harris, Smith caught an 11-yard pass from Collin Hill to put the Gamecocks up 7-0. That lead was short-lived, though, as Ole Miss tied things up about five minutes later with a TD pass from Matt Corral to Dontario Drummond. Hill got picked off on the Gamecocks’ next drive, and the Rebels took the lead at the end of the first quarter when Corral handled the scoring himself to make it 14-7.

USC opened the second quarter with the ball and found the end zone again, with Harris going 46 yards to the house for his first score of the night. That tied the game back up, but again it didn’t last long, as Ole Miss answered with seven more points to retake the least, 21-14. The back-and-forth continued, as the Gamecocks re-tied the game on Harris’ second touchdown of the night. Things got even wilder near the end of the quarter when Corral fumbled and John Dixon appeared to almost-but-not-quite recover the ball. After a review, though, the officials said Dixon did get the ball, but South Carolina couldn’t capitalize on that gift. To make matters worse, Ole Miss ended up getting an extra second put back on the clock right before halftime thanks to some questionable officiating (from SEC refs? never!), which allowed them to go for a field goal, and it put the Rebels up 24-21.

Ole Miss boosted their lead in the third quarter, going up 31-21 on a Snoop Conner TD run. South Carolina answered by tacking on another TD, Harris’ third of the night, to get back within three points. Ole Miss’ next drive stunningly ended in a punt, and the Gamecocks again turned to Harris, who again took the ball to the house, putting them up 35-31 and setting a single-game school record. The Rebels didn’t trail for long, taking a 38-35 lead on Jerrion Ealy’s second touchdown of the game.

The fourth quarter started with Harris’ fifth score of the game, putting USC back up 42-38. Ole Miss answered with a 91-yard TD run that was a school record and led Lane Kiffin to jubilantly fling his call sheet 50 feet in the air. The Rebels had two more touchdowns on the night, while the Gamecocks pretty much stalled on offense.

The Gamecocks drop to 2-5, and pending any COVID-19-related scheduling changes, will take on Missouri in Columbia next Saturday at 7:30 p.m.