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Looking Back: Missouri

The Gamecocks will look to claim the Mayor’s Cup for the first time since 2018 on Saturday against the Missouri Tigers. First, let’s look at some of the most memorable games in this series’ short but eventful history.

South Carolina v Missouri Photo by Peter Aiken/Getty Images

December 29th, 1979: The first meeting between the Gamecocks and Tigers took place in Birmingham at Legion Field in the Hall of Fame Classic. Legion Field was cold, raining, and miserable that night and the Gamecocks lost their 4th of what would be 8 consecutive bowl games in a 24-14 loss to Missouri.

December 30th, 2005: The Gamecocks and Tigers met once again in a bowl game, this time in the Independence Bowl. 2005 was Steve Spurrier’s first year and the Gamecocks had won their last 5 SEC games of the season entering the game. Early on it looked like the Gamecocks would cruise to a blowout victory. Leading 21-0 and about to score again, Blake Mitchell threw an interception in the end zone that was returned 100 yards for a Missouri touchdown. Carolina would score to go up 28-7 before Missouri quarterback Brad Smith took over to lead a monumental comeback. Smith and the Tigers would outscore Carolina 31-3 to close the game out and send the Gamecocks into the offseason with a 38-31 loss in Shreveport.

September 22nd, 2012: The first of Connor Shaw’s memorable moments against the Tigers came in the first meeting between these two teams as SEC foes. Carolina entered the game 3-0 and ranked 7th in the country before a sold out crowd at Williams Brice Stadium and a CBS audience. It was a dominant performance for the Gamecocks in all three phases. The Gamecocks held the Tigers out of the end zone until the final minutes, Ace Sanders had an electric punt return, and Connor Shaw had a historic day at quarterback in completing 20 of 21 passes for 249 yards and 2 touchdowns. The Gamecocks cruised to a 31-10 victory over Missouri.

Missouri v South Carolina Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images

October 26th, 2013: I still don’t know how to describe what happened in Columbia, Missouri that night. Following a devastating last second loss to the Tennessee Volunteers the week before, the Gamecocks traveled to Missouri to face a surprisingly undefeated and 5th ranked Tigers squad. Connor Shaw had been lost to a knee injury the week before but confidence in backup quarterback Dylan Thompson was high. Things just could never get on track with Thompson at quarterback and the Gamecocks trailed 17-0 entering the 4th quarter. Any chance of the Gamecocks staying in the hunt for the SEC East race was slipping away quickly. Steve Spurrier then inserted Connor Shaw at quarterback and Shaw then led a historical comeback. Shaw hit Bruce Ellington for the first touchdown to make it 17-7, then Carolina added a field goal with under 5 minutes left, and the Carolina defense forced a three and out to give Shaw one final shot to force overtime. Shaw drove the Gamecocks right down the field and hit Nick Jones for a touchdown with under a minute left to force overtime. The Tigers quickly scored in the first overtime and Carolina faced a 4th and goal from the 15 yard line when Shaw connected with Ellington for a touchdown to force double overtime. Freshman kicker Elliott Fry hit a 39 yard field goal on Carolina’s possession of double OT before Missouri kicker Andrew Baggett clanked his field goal attempt off the left upright to end the game and give the Gamecocks a 27-24 victory. Carolina had completed one of the more memorable comebacks in school history en route to their 3rd straight 11 win season.

South Carolina v Missouri Photo by Peter Aiken/Getty Images

October 6th, 2018: This is a game that has taken on supernatural undertones in the 4 years since it occurred. South Carolina had just lost 24-10 to Kentucky to move to 2-2 on the season, and they were going to be without starting quarterback Jake Bentley. Redshirt senior Michael Scarnecchia would get his first and only start of his career against the Tigers. Carolina struggled to stop Missouri the entire first half and trailed 23-14 at halftime. The game began at noon and the weather could not have been more perfect. During halftime, however, a small rain-shower developed and sat directly over Williams Brice Stadium. It dumped a massive amount of rain on the stadium for the duration of the 3rd quarter and somehow completely changed the game in favor of the Gamecocks. Carolina turned a 23-14 deficit into a 31-23 lead during the rainstorm before the game had to be halted due to lightning in the 4th quarter. Missouri kicker Tucker McCann hit a 57 yard field goal with 1:18 remaining to put Missouri up 35-34 but Scarnecchia would lead one final drive into field goal range. Parker White nailed a 33 yard field goal with 2 second remaining to give the Gamecocks a 37-35 win in a game that lasted over 5 hours in a soaked Williams Brice Stadium.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 06 Missouri at South Carolina Photo by John Byrum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images