Key play: Facing fourth-and-3 at the South Carolina 32-yard line, freshman quarterback Drew Lock ran for 9 yards. He found sophomore wide receiver Nate Brown for an 8-yard touchdown four plays later.
Key stat: Sophomore running back Ish Witter had six carries for 48 yards in the first quarter, an average of 8 yards per carry.
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Key play: South Carolina knotted the game when Lorenzo Nunez lobbed a ball toward Pharoh Cooper that Aairon Penton almost intercepted but instead was tipped to running back Shon Carson for an 8-yard TD.
Key stat: Missouri, which hasn’t been better than 42.9 percent on third down in the first four games, converted five of nine times on third down with Lock going five of seven for 35 yards and three first downs.
Key play: Redshirt freshman defensive end Walter Brady picked off Nunez near midfield and rumbled 22 yards to the South Carolina 31-yard line, setting up Missouri for a touchdown and a 24-10 lead.
Key stat: Nunez, who was 10 of 14 for 141 yards at halftime, threw three third-quarter interceptions and only completed four of eight passes for 33 yards in the period.
Key play: Tailback Rod Talley caught a short pass from Perry Orth in stride for a 25-yard touchdown. It was called back for offensive pass interference on Pharoh Cooper and South Carolina eventually punted.
Key stat: Missouri iced the game with a 12-play, 44-yard drive that chewed up the final 6:42 on the clock. Wittr had four carries for 23 yards on the game-clinching drive.
Missouri’s 299 total yards weren’t eye-popping, but the 24 points were the most in the last four games against SEC foes. The run game found its legs for the first time this season.
There were too many missed tackles, but South Carolina’s only touchdown came on a fluky defelction. Missouri had its third second-half shutout of the season.
The coverage units were fine and the return game showed promisewhen freshman Cam Hilton broke a long punt return, which was erased by penalty. Punter Corey Fatony only averaged 35.8 yards.
Missouri’s staff took a difficult circumstance, suspending starting quarterback Maty Mauk, and kept the team focused. Plus, freshman quarterback Drew Lock looked prepared and comfortable before the offense shut it down in the second half.
Player of the game: Redshirt freshman defensive end Walter Brady had three tackles, including two sacks (giving him a team-leading five on the season), and also intercepted a pass, which set up the only touchdown of the second half.
Reason to hope: Before the offense went into a shell in the second half, Lock completed 16 of 19 passes for 108 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions in the opening half.
Reason to mope: South Carolina was probably the worst defense Missouri will face the remainder of the season, so more trust needs to be shown in Mauk and the run game must build off this performance not regress.
Looking ahead: Missouri welcomes Florida and its tough-as-nails defense for homecoming next weekend, but it’s unclear who’s going to get the nod at quarterback. Does coach Gary Pinkel go back to Mauk or stick with Lock?