Bentley stays perfect, South Carolina defeats Missouri 31-21

Bentley stays perfect, South Carolina defeats Missouri 31-21

LINE: South Carolina -7. The defense, which hasn't allowed an opponent to score 30 points all season, can hang with anyone.

It took all the way until the #2 South Carolina Gamecocks' appearance in the SEC soccer semifinal game for them to lose a game. Muschamp felt Dowdle was trying too hard to generate a big play, sometimes at the expense of hitting a hole.

After the team's recent defensive struggles, first-year coach Barry Odom last week reverted to the scheme used when he was the defensive coordinator, but the Tigers still surrendered 582 total yards and were gashed in the running game.

Drew Lock threw for 302 yards and a touchdown with two interceptions for Missouri (2-7, 0-5). For once Lock appeared to be on the same page as his receivers and the offensive line did a nice job of opening up holes in the run game. After Dowdle's first two games as the starter, it's clear he'll get plenty of opportunities to continue refining that. Samuel had career highs with nine catches for 125 yards.

Throughout that game, LSU exposed Missouri's poor tackling form, breaking tackle after tackle to rush for 418 yards. Whether it was the message or just being the better team and playing at home that did it, the Gamecocks now know that a win in any of their three final games will mean a postseason appearance.

The Tigers have lost 11 straight SEC games since that 24-10 Lock-led triumph over SC previous year.

Play of the game: Dowdle got the first receiving touchdown of his career after a 17-yard pass from Bentley bounced off Missouri linebacker Eric Beisel's back shoulder and into Dowdle's arms.

Mizzou answered with a long drive of its own, capped by another extended TD run, this time by Ish Witter (Tampa, Fla.), a 25-yard strike to cap an eight-play, 70-yard drive to tie the game at 14-all with 6:01 remaining.

"That was a huge turning point in the game", Missouri running back Damarea Crockett said of South Carolina's interception, followed by its touchdown.

RECEIVING: Missouri, Mason 8-88, J'.Moore 6-54, Blanton 4-42, Culkin 2-43, Floyd 1-37, Black 1-33, J.Johnson 1-5.

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