Rapid Reaction: Gamecocks extend Missouri's misery
On the arm of Jake Bentley and the hands of Deebo Samuel, South Carolina continued the momentum it began last week in the win over Tennessee when it knocked off Missouri 31-21 Saturday. South Carolina capitalized on two turnovers by Missouri to convert 14 points.
Missouri never led, though a few rushing bursts showed glimpses of an offensive spark, the Tigers couldn’t sustain it.
South Carolina intercepted a pass in the end zone with 30 seconds left to seal it.
There were three plays where targeting was called, but one was overturned, and two players were ejected. Chris Moody, who had a team-high 10 tackles when he was flagged with 6:21 remaining in the game, was allowed to remain in the game. Each team had a player ejected.
What it means
Missouri: The losing skid extends to five game as does the program’s winless streak in conference play, which already stretched 13 months. That 11-game conference losing streak is the longest for the program since the early 1930s. Missouri gave up big yards against the run for the fifth consecutive week, but it was the passing defense that was particularly vulnerable.
South Carolina: The last of a five-game homestand propelled the Gamecocks to a fifth win that sets up a bowl berth possibility with Western Carolina among the games remaining on the schedule. It continued a trend of tight finishes — though it was its most comfortable — for South Carolina after its previous margin for victory was three, five, six and three points.
What I liked
Missouri: When things went well for the Tigers, they did it quickly, most notably with a 90-yard scoring drive in less than two minutes with 12:55 left in second quarter. Damerea Crockett scored on a 28-yard TD run, that included several missed tackles as he walked into end zone. Ish Witter had similar scoring run with 6:01 left in the first half.
That helped Missouri have a decisive edge in the running game department late in the first half when South Carolina averaged 1.7 yards per carry, and Missouri average 6.9 yards per carry.
South Carolina: The Gamecocks had several big defensive plays in the first half, starting with Chris Lammons’ fumble recovery about six minutes into first quarter after Steve Montac hit on Dimetrios Mason deep in Missouri territory. South Carolina scored less than two minutes later at 7:25. Then Bryson Allen-Williams sacked Drew Lock at his own six-yard line to force third and long with less than seven minutes. And Jamarcus King had a key pass break up on fourth down with 2:36 left first quarter.
Elliot Fry, a former invited walk-on from Texas, became South Carolina’s all-time leading scorer with 331 points after he converted a first-half extra point. He was 1-for-2 in the second half on field goal attempts.
What I didn’t like
Missouri: Linebacker Cale Garrett was ejected on the second series of the first half with 11:54 left in first quarter following a targeting call against Bentley, who was sliding. It was the fourth time this season a Missouri player has been ejected.
South Carolina: Defensive back Chris Lammons was ejected for the second consecutive week. Last week, it was for fighting. Saturday, he was tossed for targeting on a helmet-to-helmet hit on Lock, who was sliding on a scramble midway through the second quarter.
Who’s the man: South Carolina quarterback Jake Bentley put up his third consecutive solid outing since taking over under center. By halftime, he was 14-for-19 for 159 yards and two touchdowns, and has six TDs and no interceptions on the season. He finished a mistake-free 22-for-28 for 254 yards and 2 touchdowns.
Key play: South Carolina running back Rico Dowdle made a touchdown catch after the ball bounced off of Eric Beisel with 8:39 left in the first half. It came one play after a would-be touchdown catch was reviewed and ruled incomplete.
After Missouri converted a 4th-and-1 midway through the third quarter, Rashad Fenton made an interception near the goal line on a pass from near midfield.
Up next: Missouri (2-7, 0-5) plays host to Vanderbilt, while South Carolina (5-4, 3-4) travels to Florida.