Gamecocks Rally to Defeat Mississippi State, 14-12
Jeffery hauls in game-winning touchdown reception from Shaw with 3:50 remaining
STARKVILLE, Miss. --
Junior wide receiver Alshon Jeffery hauled in a 4-yard pass from
sophomore quarterback Connor Shaw for the game-winning touchdown with
3:50 remaining to lift No. 15/13 South Carolina to a 14-12 comeback win
over Mississippi State on Saturday afternoon at Scott Field.
Gamecocks trailed 10-7 with 9:50 left in the fourth quarter but they
put together a 12-play, 79-yard scoring drive to take their first lead
of the contest on Jeffery's touchdown reception. Jeffery outleaped two
defenders to come down with the reception, which moved him into sole
possession second place on the school's all-time list for touchdown
receptions with 20, trailing only Sidney Rice's (2005-06) 23.
was a struggle. We had a bunch of bad plays, but somehow or another
Conner (Shaw) found Alshon (Jeffery) on the jump ball," said head coach
Steve Spurrier, who collected his 50th win at the helm of the South
Carolina program on Saturday. "We had been trying to get the jump ball
thrown all day and he finally threw it perfect instead of out of the
ballpark like the earlier one."
Junior defensive back D.J.
Swearinger sealed the win by intercepting a pass from Mississippi State
quarterback Tyler Russell on the ensuing possession.
win, the Gamecocks (6-1, 4-1 SEC) become bowl eligible for the eighth
straight year. It is also South Carolina's fifth straight true road
win, which is a school record.
"We're going to go in there and
celebrate becoming bowl eligible," Spurrier said. "That's something
we're never going to take for granted. That's an accomplishment."
shook off two interceptions to complete 20-of-28 passes for 155 yards
and a touchdown. The Flowery Branch, Ga., native also added 28 yards on
the ground. Freshman Bruce Ellington played a key role in the offensive
scheme as he rushed for 25 yards, completed 2-of-3 passes for 24 yards
and caught four passes for 32 yards.
Sophomore running back
Marcus Lattimore, who left the game in the fourth quarter with an
injury, had 17 carries for 39 yards and a touchdown. Lattimore now has
30 career touchdowns and is just three shy of the school record of 33
set by George Rogers (1977-80) and Harold Green (1986-89). He also
moved into 14th all-time in school history in rushing yards with 2,015,
becoming just the 15th player in school history to surpass the
The Gamecock defense held the Bulldogs to 296
yards of offense on the day led by a career-high 12 tackles from
Swearinger. Senior spur Antonio Allen added 10 stops, including one for
"It wasn't a real pretty game for us, but we managed
about two 80-yard drives and our defense was super," Spurrier said. "We
held them to 10 points, which is good against anybody."
Bulldogs (3-4, 0-4) struck first with a 10-play, 69-yard scoring drive.
Russell found Chris Smith across the middle for a 19-yard scoring
strike to cap the drive, giving Mississippi State a 7-0 lead at the
1:09 mark of the first quarter.
The Gamecocks answered in the
second quarter with a 13-play, 80-yard drive, with Ellington and
Lattimore doing a majority of the damage. Ellington caught three passes
for 24 yards, rushed one time for three yards and threw a 16-yard pass
to Lattimore. Lattimore also had three rushes for 18 yards, including a
4-yard touchdown run to end the drive and knot the game at 7-7.
Carolina threatened to take the lead less than two minutes later after
Reginald Bowens intercepted a Russell pass and returned it 19 yards to
the Bulldog 11-yard line. But Mississippi State returned the favor, as
Johnthan Banks intercepted a Shaw pass in the end zone, leaving the
contest tied at 7-7 at the half.
After a scoreless third
quarter, Mississippi State regained the lead on a 22-yard field goal by
Derek DePasquale with 9:50 remaining, but the Gamecocks responded with
the game-winning drive capped by Jeffery's 4-yard touchdown reception
Russell completed 11-of-29 passes for 165 yards with
one touchdown and two interceptions, while Vick Ballard added 67 yards
rushing on 20 carries for the Bulldogs.
South Carolina has next
week off before it returns to action in the second of three straight
road games on Saturday, Oct. 29 at Tennessee.