Led by senior QB Connor Shaw, who began the game on the sideline with a knee injury he suffered last week at Tennessee, but limped into the game with 6:46 remaining in the 3rd quarter to replace an ineffective Dylan Thompson, the Gamecocks scored 17 points in the 4th quarter to send the game into overtime. In the first overtime period, after Missouri had gone ahead 24-17, and facing fourth and goal from the 15-yard line, Shaw found Bruce Ellington in the end zone.
Then, in the second overtime, after South Carolina had settled for a field goal to take a 27-24 lead, Missouri’s Maty Mauk failed to deliver a winning touchdown, and Andrew Bagget’s fourth down field goal attempt hit the left upright and bounced away to give South Carolina a hard-fought win over the SEC East division-leading Tigers that keeps the Gamecocks title hopes alive.
Afterwards, Missouri Head Coach Gary Pinkel was asked about the loss.
“It was a disappointing ending,” said Coach Pinkel. “I mean, when you have two good teams that battle, a play here or a play there is the difference. So, it’s really disappointing.”
The Missouri defense was superb, but Maty Mauk failed to deliver, finishing a miserable 10-25-1 for 245 yards and 1 TD. His lone TD pass was a 96-yard catch and run by L’Damian Washington that increased Missouri’s lead to 14-0 with 4:16 remaining in the 2nd quarter. Marcus Murphy scored twice for Missouri, on an 11-yard 1st quarter run, and on a 1-yard run in the first overtime.
But, Shaw proved to be too much for the Tigers, as he finished his short night’s work 20-29-0 for 201 yards and 3 TDs.
Missouri held RB Mike Davis, the leading rusher in the SEC, to just 51 yards on 19 carries. And, Missouri twice ripped the ball away from Davis and recovered the fumbles. But Davis was effective in the passing game, converting screen passes for 10 receptions for 99 yards.
Thompson was just 15-27-1 for 222 yards. So, it was not a big surprise when midway through the 3rd quarter, Shaw put on his helmet and began warming up.
"I had to," explained South Carolina Coach Steve Spurrier, explaining his decision to play the gimpy Shaw. "Connor wanted to play, and Dylan just wasn't getting it done."
Missouri held South Carolina to 75 yards rushing on 35 carries, and held the Gamecocks to just 17 points though four quarters, just over half their scoring average. The Tigers forced 3 South Carolina turnovers, and won the turnover battle 3-1.
Missouri rushed for 155 yards and 2 TDs on 41 carries, with Henry Josey and Marcus Murphy handling the rushing load. But in the end, Mauk just wasn’t effective enough to sustain drives, as the Tigers converted just 4-of-14 third downs, and scored a touchdown on just 1-of-4 red zone opportunities. Excluding Washington’s TD catch, on which he covered nearly 70 yards after the catch, Mauk was just 9-24-1 for 149 yards.
It was a tough loss for the disappointed Tigers, especially because they had led 17-0, when Coach Steve Spurrier changed QBs midway through the 3rd quarter. The experienced Shaw was able to exploit the Missouri defense with the use of screens, draws, and passes over the middle. He certainly showed his mettle, as he courageously limped around the field, stood in the face of Missouri’s pressure, and dissected the Tigers.
On the other side of the field, Missouri’s high-powered offense was grounded, as Missouri managed just 4 first downs in the second half, two of which were the result of South Carolina penalties. After intermission, Mauk was just 4-13 passing for just 74 yards. The Tigers couldn’t keep their offense on the field, and they managed just 3 points during the second half.