South Carolina earned their fifth win of the season last night in 31-21 home win over Missouri. Big days from the freshman and more turnovers on defense lead the way.
Jake Bentley tears up Tigers
The freshman QB completed 22 of 28 passes for 254 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Bentley found Deebo Samuel early and often. Samuel finished with 125 yards on nine catches, scoring on a sweep inside the ten. Bentley shared the wealth among the rest of the offense as seven different Gamecocks caught a pass. One thing, among others, I have noticed about Bentley is the trust he has in his receivers. There were multiple plays where he saw Samuel and Bryan Edwards in man coverage on the outside. He trusted them to make the play and is throwing the ball higher, allowing his receivers to go to work. It is something that Orth and McIlwain would either not try or throw an uncatchable pass.
More bend, but no break, from the defense
The Gamecock defense gave 465 yards to Mizzou. Drew Lock threw for over 300 yards, but the more concerning part of the game was the run defense. After a better showing against Tennessee, Carolina gave up 162 yards to Damarea Crockett and Ish Witter on only 24 carries. Both had red zone scores as well. The good news was that only 21 points were allowed and three more turnovers were created.
The freshman running back continued his stellar play with 149 yards. He had a touchdown on the ground to go along with a nice touchdown grab. On a ball that Bentley underthrew, Dowdle adjusted to a deflection off a Mizzou defender to haul in the Gamecocks’ second touchdown on the day. He also added the last touchdown of the game with a 20 yard score late in the third. The Gamecocks will need more of the same next week in the Swamp.
After sitting at 2-4, South Carolina is one win away from bowl eligibility. With Western Carolina in two weeks, the prospect of a bowl game is looking good. But the Gamecocks should feel no need to wait another week to get that sixth win. Riding a three game winning streak down to Gainesville should give the young team confidence. Florida is reeling after their big loss in Arkansas, but hey’ll probably re-focus with their hopes for an SEC East title still intact. It is a daunting task to win in the Swamp with a large group of freshman and sophomores, but we all know Coach Muschamp wants this one bad.