The Tigers controlled the game by coming up with big turnover after big turnover in the first half, stymieing the South Carolina offense in key situations. They seemed to have the game well in hand until the disastrous fourth quarter.
Here is the good, the bad, and the ugly for Missouri in Saturday night’s big SEC tilt in Columbia.
96-YARD PASS PLAYS: With less than six minutes to go in the first half, the Gamecocks fumbled the ball on the 2-yard line, and the Tigers recovered. With their backs to the wall, the Tigers tried a couple of running plays that netted 2 yards, and gave them very little room to maneuver.
On third and 8 from the 4 yard line, Maty Mauk found L’Damian Washington open at about the 25-yard line. Washington caught the ball in space, shed a couple of would-be tacklers, and out sprinted everyone else to the end zone for a spectacular 96-yard touchdown play.
OPPORTUNISTIC DEFENSE: Though it was a rough day overall defensively for Missouri, they did come up with three turnovers, including a Mike Davis fumble at the goal line. Combined with the long touchdown pass three plays later, it added up to a 14-point swing in the Tigers’ favor. In the first half, it seem whenever the Tigers needed a big play, they came up with a turnover.
THE RUN DEFENSE: Missouri held the the Gamecocks to just 57 yards rushing on the evening, on 35 carries, a brilliant 2.1 average. The Tigers didn’t allow any runs for more than 11 yards. The South Carolina backs, namely Mike Davis, found few holes to expose in that defense. The defense was helped by the fact that South Carolina all but abandoned the running game in the 4th quarter.