Tiger Revenge: Mizzou comes back against South Carolina in 21-20 thriller

Tyler Murry and Austin Hough Bring you the highlights of Missouri football’s thrilling victory against South Carolina

RECAP

By Jared Koller, 23 Sports-

Saturday, Sept. 27-

A year after the Missouri Tigers were upset at home by the South Carolina Gamecocks in a crushing overtime loss, the Tigers headed to the other Columbia, in South Carolina, looking for revenge.

It would come in dramatic fashion, as the Tigers struggled offensively in the first 53 minutes of the game. But, behind a late comeback, the unranked Missouri Tigers upset the No. 13 South Carolina Gamecocks 21-20.

This matchup had been circled on Tiger fan’s calendars for weeks now, coming off of last year’s overtime home loss in which South Carolina upset No. 5 Missouri 27-24 on a missed field goal.

The start of the game had no shortage of big moments, as on the first drive, South Carolina looked to convert on a fourth down from their own side of the field. The Tiger defense stepped up big as Kentrell Brothers stuffed the gap, giving the Missouri offense the ball on South Carolina’s 43-yard-line.

From there, running back Russell Hansbrough took an 18-yard-rush to the house, giving the Tigers a 7-0 lead on great blocking and vision.

Lead by great tackling from Michael Scherer, Markus Golden, and Shane Ray, the Missouri defense was able to apply constant pass rush on quarterback Dylan Thompson, limiting the big pass plays.

The defense would keep South Carolina out of the end zone all the way to the 1:36 mark in the second quarter, when South Carolina running back Mike Davis took one in to put the Gamecocks up 10-7. This would be the score heading into the half, as the Missouri offense could not get things going behind the inconsistent play of quarterback Maty Mauk.

The offense would continue to struggle into the second half, as Mauk could never get things going consistently. With two of his top three receivers out, Mauk, at one point, missed 11 straight failed third down conversions.

The defense kept the game close by stopping South Carolina on many key downs, but a variation of screen plays and tough runs wore down the Tiger defense, capped by a 23 yard touchdown catch from Pharoh Cooper to make the score 20-7 South Carolina.

With 7:25 left in the game, 13 points seemed like climbing up a mountain the way the offense had been playing so far, as Mizzou hadn’t run the ball often, and Mauk was flushed out of the pocket almost every passing play.

Then something clicked. With the ball and down 13, the Tigers needed only 36 seconds to get the game back within six. Long passes from Mauk to Bud Sasser and Wesley Leftwich, set up a cutback touchdown run from Hansbrough to make it 20-13, South Carolina.

This inspired the defense, as the relentless pressure forced a South Carolina three and out, giving Mauk the ball back with 4:40 remaining, 51 yards away from a go-ahead touchdown score. It didn’t come quick though, as on the first set of downs Mizzou faced a fourth and one.

A short play action pass to tight end Sean Culkin kept the drive alive, followed by a South Carolina pass interference penalty, and finally a Marcus Murphy 22 yard run to the South Carolina two yard line to set up first and goal.

The Tigers would run the ball three straight times moving the spot to the half yard line, with both teams using a total of four timeouts in a two minute span. As 83,493 fans watched in anticipation, the Tigers, on fourth and one would hand it to Hansbrough who plowed his way through a South Carolina pile and found himself in the end zone tying the game with 96 seconds remaining.

Then fittingly, the man who was to blame for last years upset, kicker Andrew Baggett, knocked the go-ahead point through the uprights to make the score 21-20, Tigers. A few deep heaves from South Carolina were all they could muster, as the Gamecocks couldn’t gain a yard on the Mizzou defense after the touchdown, sealing the Tigers first SEC win of the year.

The strength of the Tigers will be tested even more next Saturday, as the Georgia Bulldogs come to Columbia, Missouri in a fight for SEC East supremacy.