Missouri surges back late to defeat South Carolina 21-20

Starting quarterback Maty Mauk has thrown for 14 touchdowns this season.

Starting quarterback Maty Mauk has thrown for 14 touchdowns this season.

By Christian Clark, KBIA Sports

Two fourth-quarter touchdowns from a Missouri offense that had produced just 69 total yards on its previous 10 possessions helped the unranked Tigers eek out a 21-20 comeback victory over No. 13 South Carolina on Saturday night at Williams-Brice Stadium.

South Carolina held a 20-7 advantage with 7:25 left in the game when Gamecocks quarterback Dylan Thompson connected with receiver Pharoh Cooper on a 23-yard score.

Missouri — which had punted on each of its 10 previous possessions — took over on its own 32-yard line needing a score. Thirty six seconds later, running back Russell Hansbrough ran in from one yard out for the second of three touchdowns he had on the day. Missouri worked quickly on the drive thanks to 41- and 26-yard passes from Maty Mauk to receivers Bud Sasser and Wesley Leftwich, respectively.

Missouri’s defense would quickly shut down the South Carolina offense on its next drive, forcing a punt that gave the Tigers the ball at their own 49-yard line with 4:40 remaining.

Missouri moved the ball down the field and Hansbrough ultimately scored on a 1-yard run on fourth-and-goal with 1:36 remaining in the game, giving the Tigers a 21-20 lead. The Missouri defense then forced South Carolina quarterback Dylan Thompson into four straight incompletions to seal a wild victory.

The win was sweet redemption for a Missouri team that surrendered a 17-point lead to the Gamecocks last season in a double-overtime loss at Faurot Field. Kicker Andrew Baggett, who misfired on a 24-yard field goal last year that could have extended the game, made the extra point following the final Hansbrough touchdown that made it 21-20.

The Tigers amassed only 280 yards of total of offense in the upset. Mauk — who finished 12 of 34 for 132 yards — was consistently flushed out of the pocket and struggled mightily for much of the game. Sasser caught six passes for 86 yards but no other Missouri player had more than two receptions. Hansbrough had 10 carries for 43 yards, while fellow running back Marcus Murphy racked up 98 yards on 16 carries.

Missouri has a bye week before hosting Georgia at home on Oct. 11 in a Southeastern Conference battle that has enormous implications in the Tigers’ quest for back-to-back SEC East titles.

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