BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (UPI) Junior quarterback Phil Bradley took advantage of two South Carolina turnovers and a short punt Saturday night in guiding Missouri to a 24-14 rain-soaked victory over the Gamecocks in the third annual Hall of Fame Bowl.
Bradley, named the game's most valuable offensive player, completed seven of 10 passes for 72 yards and got the first Missouri touchdown on a 28-yard pass to senior flanker David Newman to put the Tigers ahead 10-6 midway through the second quarter. Bradley also scored later in the period on a 1-yard run.
Senior runtime back Gerry Ellis got the final Missouri touchdown in the third period on an 11-yard run after the Gamecocks had cut the margin to 17-14.
South Carolina opened the scoring on a 20-yard pass from quarterback Garry Harper to flanker Zion McKinney with only 3:52 gone in the game. Harper got the other Gamecock TD on an 11-yard keeper in the third quarter.
Missouri, 7-5, trailed 6-0 in the second period before driving 82 yards and settling for a 22-yard field goal by Ron Verilli.
South Carolina's Horace Smith fumbled the ensuing kickoff, and junior defensive back Johnnie Poe recovered on the Gamecock 28. On the first play, Bradley found Newman open in the left corner of the end zone, and the Tigers had gained a 10-6 lead in only 14 seconds.
The tough Tiger defense bottled up the Gamecocks following the kickoff, and Harper was sacked for a 10-yard loss on his own 5-yard line on third down.
A short punt gave the Tigers the ball on the Gamecock 30, and they quickly covered the distance in seven plays with Bradley diving one yard for the score with 2.06 left in the first half for a 17-6 lead.
The Gamecocks, powered by tailback George Rogers, drove 62 yards in nine plays with Harper scoring on an 11-yard run with 8:27 left in the third period. Harper then hit McKinney for the two-point conversion to cut the margin to 17-14.
Linebacker Eric Berg, the game's most valuable defensive player, intercepted a Harper pass and returned it to the Gamecock 28 to set up the final Tiger touchdown on Ellis' 11-yard run with 24 seconds left in the third quarter.
South Carolina, 8-4, drove 69 yards with the opening kickoff using a no-huddle offense featuring the running of Rogers, who gained 133 yards on 25 carries for the night. Rogers carried on six of 10 plays before Harper connected with McKinney on a 20-yard touchdown toss.