Missouri rallies for late TD to knock off Gamecocks

uscfoot-22runNo. 13 South Carolina fell 21-20 to Missouri tonight at Williams-Brice Stadium as the Tigers’ tailback Russell Hansbrough scored his third touchdown of the game, a one-yard rush with 1:36 remaining to give Missouri the go-ahead score.

South Carolina opened the game up with the ball, but unable to convert on a fourth-and-one from its own 42, turned the ball over to the Tigers. Missouri quarterback Maty Mauk’s second pass on the drive was intercepted on the goal line by sophomore safety Chaz Elder, but an offside penalty on the Gamecocks negated the play. Three plays later, Hansbrough found a hole on the right side, cut outside and found an alley to the end zone for an 18-yard run to give the Tigers a quick 7-0 lead less than three minutes into the game.

With 4:48 on the clock in the first quarter, Missouri’s Andrew Baggett lined up for a 48-yard field goal, but the attempt was wide right. Carolina struck on the following play with a 27-yard pass from senior quarterback Dylan Thompson to sophomore wide receiver Pharoh Cooper. A six-yard run from junior tailback Mike Davis and a pass interference call on the Tigers moved the Gamecocks down to the 23-yard line. Unable to convert on a third-and-five from the 18, sophomore kicker Elliott Fry came on and converted a 33-yard field goal to cut Carolina’s deficit to 7-3 with just over two minutes remaining in the first quarter.

As the second quarter was winding down, a 42-yard punt from Missouri’s Christian Brinser was returned 24 yards by Cooper to the Carolina 41-yard line. Davis took over from there, accounting for 55 yards on four plays, including a 24-yard burst after a short pass from Thompson. That play set up a 17-yard touchdown run, which he cut to the right and bounced to the outside to give the Gamecocks a 10-7 lead with 1:36 remaining before the half.

On the fourth possession of the second half, South Carolina added to its lead with Fry’s second field goal of the game, this time from 41 yards out, his fourth this season from 40-plus yards. The attempt was set up by a 47-yard reception from senior wide receiver Nick Jones.

South Carolina extended its lead to 20-7 midway through the fourth quarter as six rushes in seven plays was followed by a 23-yard strike from Thompson to Cooper over the middle. The wideout made a two-handed grab just across the goal line and held on after taking a big hit. The Tigers struck quick though as Mauk covered 67 yards through the air on two plays before Hansbrough capped off a 36-second drive with a one-yard touchdown run to cut the deficit to 20-14 with 6:49 remaining.

Forced to go three-and-out on its next possession, South Carolina punted the ball back to Missouri with 4:40 remaining. Senior punter Tyler Hull’s 48-yard punt was returned 22 yards by Marcus Murphy to midfield. The Tigers converted on a fourth-and-one at the Carolina 42-yard line to keep their drive alive. A Gamecock pass interference call, followed by a 22-yard run by Murphy brought the ball down to the South Carolina two-yard line. On fourth down from the one-yard line, Hansbrough scored the go-ahead score.

Photo courtesy of USC Athletics

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