Bent­ley ral­lies South Carolina past Ole Miss

The Sun Herald (Sunday) - - Sports - BY CHRIS BUR­ROWS As­so­ci­ated Press

Jake Bent­ley passed for two touch­downs and scored the game-win­ning touch­down on a 4-yard run with 5:50 left to lift South Carolina to a 48-44 comeback win over Mis­sis­sippi on Satur­day.

South Carolina (5-3, 4-3) erased a 44-34 deficit in the fourth quar­ter to win con­sec­u­tive games for the first time this sea­son. The Gamecocks cov­ered 47 and 73 yards in fourth-quar­ter scor­ing drives, capped by a 3-yard run from A.J. Turner and Bent­ley’s de­ci­sive score, re­spec­tively.

Bent­ley fin­ished 22-of-32 pass­ing for 363 yards as the Gamecocks had 510 to­tal yards. The South Carolina de­fense, af­ter giv­ing up eight scores in 10 pos­ses­sions, closed with four con­sec­u­tive score­less se­ries to pre­serve the win.

“Jake gave a gutsy per­for­mance and was re­ally ac­cu­rate with the ball,” South Carolina coach Will Muschamp said. “The re­siliency and fight of this foot­ball team says a lot about the cul­ture of our pro­gram. A lot of guys stepped up to win this game.”

Ole Miss (5-4, 1-4) ral­lied from an early 17-3 deficit for a 27-27 tie at half­time and moved out to a 44-34 fourth-quar­ter lead. Jor­dan Ta’amu was 31of-46 pass­ing for 379 yards as the Rebels had 616 yards of to­tal of­fense, in­clud­ing 141 rush­ing yards on 21 car­ries from Scot­tie Phillips.

“We just did not make the plays we needed to make,” Mis­sis­sippi coach Matt Luke said. “They did and we didn’t, espe­cially in those fi­nal se­ries. This is tough be­cause our play­ers left it all on the field.”

The first-half shootout opened on a 90-yard kick­off re­turn touch­down by Deebo Sa­muel as the Gamecocks raced to an early 14-point lead. By half­time, Parker White had field goals of 20 and 23 yards, Ty’Son Wil­liams scored on a 2-yard run and Bryan Ed­wards pulled in a 75yard touch­down pass from Bent­ley for South Carolina.

Ole Miss coun­tered with a 24-point out­burst in the sec­ond

pe­riod, high­lighted by touch­down runs of 1 and 9 yards by Phillips. Luke Lo­gan added field goals of 25 and 26 yards, while Ta’amu scored on a 17yard run.

The Rebels got sec­ond­half touch­down runs from Phillips and Isa­iah Woullard on 2 and 1 yards, re­spec­tively. Josh Vann had a 5-yard scor­ing pass from Bent­ley late in the third quar­ter be­fore South Carolina ral­lied in the fi­nal 12 min­utes.

THE TAKE­AWAY

South Carolina: The Gamecocks got a lit­tle breath­ing room in be­com­ing bowl el­i­gi­ble as home games re­main with sub­di­vi­sion Chat­tanooga and non-Power Five mem­ber Akron. The clutch de­fen­sive fin­ish, which in­cluded sacks by Jor­dan Kin­law and T.J. Brun­son, was en­cour­ag­ing since ranked op­po­nents, No. 11 Florida and No. 2 Clem­son re­main on the sched­ule.

Ole Miss: Ta’amu took a phys­i­cal beat­ing as the game pro­gressed and it showed in the fourth quar­ter as he com­pleted only three passes for 10 yards. When the Rebels are held in check of­fen­sively or at least slowed down, the de­fense sim­ply can’t com­pen­sate enough for a win. As usual, the re­ceivers were im­pres­sive as Eli­jah Moore had 129 yards on 11 re­cep­tions and A.J. Brown had 115 yards on six catches.

GAME CHANGER

South Carolina fin­ished with 147 yards rush­ing, but the game’s de­ci­sive ef­fort was a 69-yard run by Mon Den­son to the Ole Miss 4-yard line while trail­ing 44-41 with seven min­utes re­main­ing. Three plays later, Bent­ley scored the game-win­ner. Den­son led the Gamecocks with 102 yards on 12 car­ries.

WHAT’S NEXT

South Carolina: The Gamecocks visit No. 11 Florida on Satur­day. Ole Miss: The Rebels be­gin a two-game road stretch at No. 20 Texas A&M.

RO­GE­LIO V. SOLIS AP

South Carolina run­ning back A.J. Turner is up­ended by Mis­sis­sippi de­fen­sive back Zedrick Woods dur­ing Satur­day’s first half in Ox­ford.

RO­GE­LIO V. SOLIS AP

Mis­sis­sippi run­ning back Scot­tie Phillips, left, ran for 141 yards in the Rebels’ 48-44 loss on Satur­day.

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