On Saturday night at Williams-Brice Stadium, the South Carolina Gamecocks looked like a different team than the one fans are used to seeing. The Missouri Tigers came to town and were able to comeback on the Gamecocks to seal a 21-20 victory. Last year, the Gamecocks were the ones who were able to fight back for a late victory.
The Gamecocks’ defense, which has struggled all season, played very well. They held Missouri to 280 total yards and only 16 first downs. They would have had a turnover, but the interception was called back due to a defensive offsides penalty. They eventually gave up a touchdown on that drive, but nothing else until the fourth quarter.
The Carolina D held Matty Mauk to just 132 yards passing, as he looked timid and unable to get anything going on offense. Mauk, always a threat to run, was held to just nine rushing yards in the contest.
The offense was a different story. Dylan Thompson came in having a fantastic season, on pace to break the school record for passing yards and touchdowns in a season. The offense could not get things going, as Thompson and his receivers looked out of sync. They missed on several big plays, including a poor game by Busta Anderson. He dropped a few key first downs, and a huge touchdown late in the third.
Thompson was unusually unimpressive. He finished the game 21-37 for 219 yards. Not terrible, but he came in averaging almost 70-yards more. Mike Davis played well, finishing with 102 yards. But he was unable to break that big run the Gamecocks needed.
Unable to be consistent and score points turned out to really haunt the Gamecocks. With a 20-7 lead in the fourth, a long drive that ended with a field goal would have appeared to end the game. The Gamecocks got the ball back with 6:49 to play and a six-point lead. After two rushing plays for negative yards, Thompson threw short for two. This wasn’t enough, and Carolina punted.
Once they got the ball back, Missouri converted on two fourth downs, the second being for the game winning touchdown. The Carolina D played well, but couldn’t come up with the game winning stop.
This paints a messy picture for the SEC East. South Carolina drops out of first place, as Missouri takes over. Georgia and Florida both sit 1-1 in conference.
South Carolina will play the Kentucky Wildcats next week, while Missouri has a bye-week before a key east matchup vs. Georgia.
The loss knocks the Gamecocks out of the top-25 for the first time since September of 2010.
*Section Photo credit to Ronald Martinez, Getty Images; Featured Photo (above) credit to Jeff Blake, USA Today Sports