The South Carolina Gamecocks stayed on track in their quest to sneak into the SEC title game at the end of season by handily dispatching the Mississippi State Bulldogs 34-16. While the offense didn’t look all that efficient or prolific for most of the day, the Gamecocks’ defense stepped up in a major way and set South Carolina up for a very comfortable win.
Quarterback Connor Shaw completed just 10 of 20 passes for 147 yards and didn’t run the ball for a run longer than a yard. But set up with a short field most of the day, he was able to throw for four touchdown passes. Running back Mike Davis had a strong day running the ball, racking up 128 yards on the ground but didn’t break into the endzone the entire game. The offense racked up just over 300 total yards on the day, managed only 12 first downs and went just 1-of-11 on third down conversions.
Luckily for South Carolina, their defense rose up and made big plays all day long. They forced five turnovers on the day, three interceptions and two fumbles, which set up the SC offense with great field position on numerous drives. Mississippi State quarterback Dak Prescott was harassed for all four quarters and didn’t throw a touchdown pass on the day (though he did run in a pair of touchdowns on the day).
The win was a strong showing for the Gamecocks. Shaw’s four touchdown passes matches his career best in a game and Davis broke 1,000-yards rushing on the season and became the first SC running back to break 1,000-yards in a season since Marcus Lattimore did it three years ago. More importantly, the defense stepped up in a major way and shut down the Bulldogs allowing the offense the opportunity to succeed.
If they keep playing at this level, South Carolina is going to be right in the thick of the SEC title race at season’s end and have a great shot at punching their ticket to Atlanta.