Patterson Fallis-23 Sports

On a humid Saturday afternoon, a dominant Missouri defense helped propel the Tigers to victory against the Gamecocks of South Carolina.

The scoring started with a wacky play deep in South Carolina territory by freshman quarterback Ryan Hilinski. After Hilinski’s pass was deflected into the air at the line of scrimmage, the quarterback caught the ball and threw it to the ground. Initially, the officials ruled the play dead saying Hilinski made an illegal forward pass when throwing the ball into the ground. After a booth review, it was ruled that Hilinski had thrown the ball backwards, or fumbled, and Cale Garrett, standout middle linebacker for the Tigers, dove on the ball in the endzone, resulting in the game’s first touchdown. The Tigers added a field goal early in the second quarter to grow their lead to 10-0. Tigers quarterback Kelly Bryant threw an interception shortly thereafter, which was returned to the Missouri 1 yard line. On the next play, South Carolina running back Rico Dowdle plunged into the endzone, trimming the Tigers lead to 10-7. Bryant led a scoring drive late in the quarter and finished it off with a 3 yard pass to star tight end, Albert Okwuegbunam. The relentless Missouri defense held South Carolina to just 3 passing yards and 30 total yards in the first half. They led 17-7 heading to the locker room.

The Gamecocks deferred to the second half and took their very first play of the half 75 yards to the house on a screen pass from Hilinski to wideout Bryan Edwards. This was Missouri’s only true defensive breakdown of the afternoon and cut their lead to 17-14. Flashbacks of previous meetings against South Carolina came flooding back but Kelly Bryant took away any momentum the Gamecocks had on the ensuing drive. He led the Tigers down the field in just under four minutes and capped off the drive with a 21 yard touchdown pass to running back Tyler Badie. The Gamecocks weren’t going away as Hilinski marched down the field to the Missouri 3 yard line. On third and goal, Hilinski was pressured and threw the ball into the endzone. Mizzou safety Ronnell Perkins was the hero for the Tigers as he picked off the pass and returned in 100 yards for the longest interception returned for a touchdown in school history. Despite having over twenty minutes of game time left, this felt like the play that sucked the life out of the South Carolina sideline. The Tigers held the Gamecocks scoreless for the rest of the game and placekicker Tucker McCann nailed a 25-yard field goal midway through the fourth quarter for the final points of the game. Missouri came out on top, winning by a final score of 34-14 and defeated South Carolina for the first time since 2015.

The Tigers now plan to use the momentum of a 3-game win streak to propel themselves into their bye week. Mizzou will play their next game October 5th against the Troy Trojans at Faurot Field.