Gamecocks no match for Bulldogs in first SEC loss

uscfoot-msuSouth Carolina (1-1, 1-1 SEC) looked stronger in the second half for the second-straight week, but it couldn’t overcome Mississippi State’s first-half tally, as the Bulldogs claimed a 27-14 win on Saturday night at Davis Wade Stadium.

Mississippi State (1-1, 1-0 SEC) claimed a 24-0 lead in the first half, using a trio of three-minute-or-less drives to take the lead. Fred Ross had a hand in the first two scoring plays, as the running back caught a six-yard pass to end the first drive before throwing a 17-yard pass to Donald Gray for the second touchdown.

Bulldog quarterback Nick Fitzgerald tossed the first and third scores, the latter to Jordan Thomas for a three-yard strike late in the second to make it 21-0. Westin Graves ended the first half with the first of his two field goals, the first coming from 27 yards out.

Freshman Brandon McIlwain engineered the Gamecocks’ first scoring drive of the game late in the third quarter. The 12-play, 80-yard drive saw McIlwain run for 22 yards and throw for 58, including an 18-yard toss to A.J. Turner for the score. On the drive, the freshman was 4-for-6 from the air.

After the Bulldogs’ Graves made it 27-7 with a 28-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter, the Gamecocks cut the lead to 27-14 after a 13-play, 83-yard drive led again by McIlwain. The freshman again accounted for every yard for South Carolina, ending the drive with a four-yard completion to K.C. Crosby.

Photo courtesy of USC Athletics

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