Key play: Junior running back Marcus Murphy knifed left off tackle, scooted past South Carolina cornerback Victor Hampton a few yards downfield and then shrugged a high tackle from a diving Jadeveon Clowney inside the Gamecocks’ 5-yard line on an 11-yard touchdown run.
Key stat: Redshirt freshman quarterback Maty Mauk shrugged off a terrible start, which included a near interception and deflected interception among three errant throws to start the game. He got going with a 32-yard pass to senior Marcus Lucas and went three of four for 58 yards the rest of the period.
Key play: South Carolina was driving with a chance to tie the game, before Missouri defensive tackle Matt Hoch got a mitt on the football as Gamecocks running back Mike Davis, who entered the game leading the Southeastern Conference in rushing, tried to secure the handoff at the 2-yard line. Kony Ealy recovered for the Tigers.
Key stat: Three plays after Davis’ fumble, facing third-and-8 at its own 4-yard line, Mauk delivered a strike to senior wide receiver L’Damian Washington on a skinny post. Washington did the rest, dashing 96 yards for a touchdown. It was the longest play from scrimmage since a 98-yard pass from Pete Woods to Joe Stewart in 1976.
Key play: With 6 minutes, 46 seconds left, South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier inserted Connor Shaw, replacing his ineffective backup Dylan Thompson. Shaw would complete 20 of 29 passes for 201 yards and three touchdowns in the rallying the Gamecocks to an overtime win.
Key stat: Missouri’s offense sputtered, managing only 61 yards in the third quarter. The Tigers had 13 yards rushing in nine carries and only 48 yards passing with Mauk going two for six in the period.
Fourth quarter and overtime
Key play: Missouri had grabbed a 24-17 lead on the opening drive in overtime and the defense had South Carolina on the ropes, facing a fourth-and-goal at the 15. Wide receiver Bruce Ellington slipped away from safety Ian Simon on an out route in the end zone for the game-tying touchdown.
Key stat: It took 47 minutes and 47 seconds for South Carolina to score, but the Gamecocks racked up 27 points in the last 12:13 plus overtime. After Andrew Baggett missed a 46-yard field goal wide left with the Tigers in front 17-7, the offense managed only 1 yard the rest of the fourth quarter.
Player of the game: Shaw has to be the guy. He stepped in when his backup, Thompson, had proven ineffective and rallied the Gamecocks to victory. Shaw, who suffered a sprained knee last week at Tennessee.
Reason to hope: Missouri still leads the Southeastern Conference East division by one game in the loss column, so the Tigers control their own fate with respect to reaching the SEC championship game Dec. 7 in Atlanta.
Reason to mope: Any hope, albeit premature, that Missouri might somehow put together the most special of seasons and reach the BCS championship game evaporated when Baggett’s field goal attempt hit the left upright. Probably any hope for any BCS bowl game disappeared as well.
Looking ahead: Missouri hosts a motivated Tennessee team coming off a 45-10 beating against Alabama next week and will try to get back on track. Beating the Volunteers is a must to keep SEC East title hopes alive.
| Tod Palmer, firstname.lastname@example.org
|C-||Offense||Putting up only 99 yards in the third and fourth quarters combined wasn’t nearly good enough. It was also well short of expectations for this offense. Aside from the 96-yard touchdown to L’Damian Washington, Maty Mauk was nine of 24 for 153 yards with an interception and the run game averaged 3.8 yards per carry.|
|C+||Defense||The run defense was pretty good, holding the SEC’s leading rusher, Mike Davis, to 51 yards in 19 carries. But the pass defense coughed up 423 yards and Missouri’s much-balleyhooed pass rush couldn’t get to Connor Shaw enough when it mattered.|
|C||Special teams||There were some positive signs in the return game and in kick/punt coverage, but Baggett missed two field goals, including a 24-yard try in the second overtime. Punter Christian Brinser’s short fourth-quarter punt also aided South Carolina’s comeback.|
|C-||Coaching||Missouri couldn’t find a way to establish the run against one of the leakiest run defenses in the SEC. Missouri’s offense went in reverse during the second half as the Tigers’ fell from the ranks of the unbeaten.|