Clem­son stomps Louisville, ex­tends ACC dom­i­na­tion

South Carolina mounts come­back to win shootout with Ole Miss

The State (Sunday) - - Front Page - BY JOSH KENDALL jk­endall@thes­tate.com

South Carolina sur­vived a shootout Sat­ur­day af­ter­noon in Vaught-hem­ing­way Sta­dium but just barely.

In a game that fea­tured 1,126 yards of to­tal of­fense, two 300-yard passers, four 100-yard re­ceivers, two 100yard rush­ers, 52 com­bined first downs and four sec­ond­half lead changes, the Game­cocks beat Ole Miss 48-44 in front of 56,798 fans.

“What an of­fen­sive foot­ball game, up and down the field, both de­fenses had a hard time stop­ping any­body,” Game­cocks head coach Will Muschamp said.

South Carolina (5-3 over­all, 4-3 SEC) won for the first time in school his­tory in a game in which it sur­ren­dered more than 600 yards. The Rebels’ 616 yards were the sev­enth-high­est in his­tory against the Game­cocks.

Ole Miss had 34 first downs and led 44-34 af­ter Isa­iah Woullard scored on a 1-yard run with 14:15 left in the game, but the Rebels gained only 16 yards af­ter that score. South Carolina played more man cov­er­age in the fourth quar­ter af­ter play­ing mostly zone in the first three, Muschamp said.

“You have to keep play­ing, you have to stay pos­i­tive and they weren’t stop­ping us, so let’s just fig­ure out a way to make two or three stops, which we did at the end,” Muschamp said.

The Game­cocks of­fense had 510 yards and av­er­aged 7.4 yards per play. South Carolina took its fi­nal lead when quar­ter­back Jake Bent­ley scram­bled for a 4-yard touch­down with 5:50 re­main­ing. The win was fi­nally se­cured when the Rebels (5-4, 1-4) turned the ball over on downs at their 48-yard line with 1:12 re­main­ing.

“We had to re­spond,” Bent­ley said. “That was the mes­sage all day. No­body pan­icked. No­body got rat­tled. Just an awe­some job by the lead­er­ship and ev­ery­one to stay calm.”

It marked the first time this sea­son South Carolina has won two games in a row, and

it evened the all-time se­ries against Ole Miss at eight wins each. The Rebels fell to 5-4 and 1-4.

THREE POINTS

Star of the game: South Carolina quar­ter­back Jake Bent­ley had 363 pass­ing yards, the most against an SEC op­po­nent in his ca­reer. He was 22of-32 pass­ing with two touch­downs and no in­ter­cep­tions and av­er­aged 16.5 yards per com­ple­tion. “Gutsy per­for­mance,” Muschamp said. “I thought he was out­stand­ing.”

Play of the game: Ju­nior wide re­ceiver Bryan Ed­wards made a nearly blind, one-handed, 75yard touch­down catch with 7:41 left in the sec­ond quar­ter. Ed­wards reached to the side of the Ole Miss de­fen­sive back to catch the ball with his right hand and then sep­a­rated to put the Game­cocks ahead 24-13. “The guy is a re­ally good foot­ball player,” Muschamp said. “I see him make a lot of those catches, so it’s not a shock to me.”

Stat of the game: The last 13 games be­tween the Game­cocks and Rebels have been de­cided by seven points or fewer. South Carolina’s last four games this sea­son have been de­cided by four points or fewer. The Game­cocks are now 12-4 un­der Muschamp in games de­cided by seven points or fewer.

OB­SER­VA­TIONS

In­jury up­date: The Game­cocks were bat­tered by in­juries in the first half. Start­ing run­ning back Rico Dow­dle ap­peared to suf­fer a sig­nif­i­cant left an­kle in­jury and did not re­turn to the field. Start­ing left tackle Ma­lik Young, re­serve de­fen­sive end Aaron Ster­ling, start­ing safety Jamyest Wil­liams, re­serve run­ning back Ty’son Wil­liams and re­serve safety Javon Charles­ton also left with first half in­juries and did not play in the sec­ond half. Start­ing line­backer Bryson Allen-wil­liams and start­ing corner­back Keisean Nixon left the field due to in­juries in the fourth quar­ter. “The in­jury list, I’m not even go­ing to start,” Muschamp said af­ter the game. “I don’t know who’s up, who’s down.”

Deebo breaks free: Deebo Sa­muel scored his first spe­cial teams touch­down of the game by re­turn­ing the open­ing kick­off 90 yards for a score. The Rebels at­tempted to kick the ball short to keep it out of Sa­muel’s hands, but the ball bounced off the hands of Eric Dou­glas and back into Sa­muel’s hands. Sa­muel now has four ca­reer kick­off re­turns for a touch­down. Two have come on the open­ing kick­off of the game.

Car­ry­ing the load: Ju­nior run­ning back Mon Den­son posted a ca­reer­high 102 yards. Den­son had a ca­reer-long 69-yard run in the fourth quar­ter to set up the 4-yard Jake Bent­ley touch­down run that put the Game­cocks ahead 48-44 with 5:50 re­main­ing.

PHO­TOS BY GAVIN MCINTYRE gm­cin­tyre@thes­tate.com

South Carolina Game­cocks run­ning back Mon Den­son (34) runs down­field as Mis­sis­sippi Rebels de­fen­sive back C.J. Miller (8) chases af­ter him dur­ing Sat­ur­day’s shootout at Vaught-hem­ing­way Sta­dium in Ox­ford.

South Carolina Game­cocks de­fen­sive back Is­rael Mukuamu (24) cel­e­brates af­ter beat­ing Ole Miss on Sat­ur­day.

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