A month ago, South Carolina looked very unlikely to get to a bowl game after a loss to Georgia. Now, with a 31-21 victory against Missouri on Homecoming, they’re a win away from punching their ticket to a postseason bid.
The Gamecocks found the end zone first after a Mizzou fumble at the 18, and a few plays later, Deebo Samuel’s jet sweep around the right hand side made it a 7-0 ballgame. Things stalled out until the second quarter, when Mizzou tied it at 7 as Damarea Crockett ran it in untouched for 29 yards. But the response came on the Gamecocks’ next drive as Rico Dowdle grabbed a deflected 17-yard TD pass to give his team the lead back again, one play after K.C. Crosby’s nice catch in the corner of the end zone was wiped out after a review.
One thing that kept the Tigers in it was a poor rush defense by Carolina, which showed itself in a big way as Ish Witter ran through the Gamecocks en route to a game-tying score. Once more, the Gamecocks responded quickly as Jake Bentley found Crosby on the ensuing Carolina possession - this one would stand - to make it a 21-14 ballgame. Again, Mizzou’s rushing offense was too much for the Gamecocks as Witter notched his second rushing TD of the game early in the 2nd half to knot it at 21. But Carolina would turn the tables later on, getting big chunks on the ground and capping it with a beautiful 20-yard TD by Rico Dowdle to give them the lead for good. After a Elliott Fry field goal with 7:35 remaining, the Tigers’ drive was snuffed by a bad Tucker McCann miss from 31 yards with 4:49 left.
Dowdle finished with 27 carries, 149 yards and a rushing touchdown, while tacking on twenty more yards and a score through the air. Bentley was very efficient, going 22-28 for 254 yards and two touchdowns - nine of those catches and 125 of those yards were courtesy of Debeo Samuel. Notably, two players were ejected due to upheld targeting calls: Mizzou’s Cale Garrett and South Carolina’s Chris Lammons (his second straight ejection). It was also a historic day for Fry as he became Carolina’s all-time leading scorer with his extra point in the 2nd quarter.
Game Thread Roll Call