Their careers are young and their bodies of work are short, but USC got career high days in passing from freshman Jake Bentley, in rushing from freshman Rico Dowdle and in receiving from sophomore Deebo Samuel in defeating Missouri Saturday night in Columbia 31-21.
It’s the Gamecocks third straight win improving them to 5-4 overall and 3-4 in the SEC. They are now one win away from bowl eligibility with three games to play.
Bentley completed 22-28 for 254 yards and 2 touchdowns. He has yet to throw an interception in 74 attempts. Dowdle rushed for 149 yards on 27 carries and scored twice. And Samuel caught 9 passes for 125 yards, also a career high.
The Gamecocks finished with a season high 428 yards and their 31 points is a high mark in SEC play. The defense gave up yards, 465 to be exact, and Mizzou quarterback Drew Lock burned the secondary for 302 yards, but USC once again held an opponent under 30 points, something it has done every game this season.
Rashad Fenton made perhaps the biggest defensive play of the game. Fenton intercepted Lock at the Gamecock two midway thru the third quarter in a 21-21 tie and from there the offense went 98 yards to the go ahead touchdown.
USC held the Tigers scoreless over their last five possessions which included two interceptions and two missed field goals.
And speaking of career highs, safety Chris Moody, starting in place of DJ Smith because of his first half suspension for targeting in the Tennessee game, had a career high 11 tackles and an interception in the end zone on Mizzou’s final play. And placekicker Elliott Fry became the program’s all-time leading scorer with his second extra point of the day giving him 331 points.
A career day for a lot of Gamecocks and it keeps their hopes alive for a surprisingly strong finish to Muschamp’s first season.
Will Muschamp reacts to the win over Missouri
Deebo Samuel and TJ Holloman
KC Crosby and Bryson Allen-Williams
Elliott Fry and Hayden Hurst