SHREVEPORT, La. (AP) - South Carolina's game plan of keeping Brad Smith
in check worked great, for a half, anyway. Then, the Missouri
quarterback broke loose, as he has done so often in his career, rushing
for three touchdowns, including a 1-yarder in the final minutes (video),
and passing for another to rally the Tigers for a 38-31 victory over the
Gamecocks in the Independence Bowl on Friday. Smith, who rushed for
1,151 yards and passed for 2,022 this season, accounted for 431 of
Missouri's 504 yards as the Tigers staged their biggest comeback victory
of the year.
Missouri (7-5) trailed 21-0 after the first quarter as Steve Spurrier's
Gamecocks dominated the first half. South Carolina (7-5) outgained
Missouri 312 yards to 174 in the first half and held the football almost
11 minutes longer (20:02-9:58). The Tigers didn't convert a third-down
until the final 58 seconds of the half.
Smith completed 21 of 37 passes for 282 yards, with one touchdown and an
interception. He passed for 200 or more yards for the 18th time. He also
ran for 150 yards and three touchdowns on 21 carries.
The Gamecocks needed less than 3 minutes to go 80 yards for their first
score. Blake Mitchell's 23-yard pass to Sidney Rice put Carolina up 7-0
Rice finished with 12 receptions for 191 yards. Tony Temple fumbled on
Missouri's first play and South Carolina's Ricardo Hurley scooped up the
ball. Four plays later Mike Davis, who ran for 125 yards on 18 carries,
scored on a 5-yard run for a 14-0 lead. The Gamecocks' third scoring
drive covered 69 yards in 1:59. This time Mitchell, who completed 20 of
38 passes for 266 yards, hit Carson Askins with a 20-yard scoring pass
to make it 21-0 (video).
Mitchell passed for two touchdowns, and was intercepted three times.
Marcus King gave Missouri its first points, grabbing Mitchell's pass at
the goal line and returning it 99 yards to make it 21-7 in the second
After Davis' 2-yard TD run gave the Gamecocks a 28-7 lead, Missouri
staged its first long drive of the game. The Tigers went 77 yards and
Smith hit Chase Coffman with a 5-yard touchdown pass to make it 28-14 at
halftime. Coffman finished with eight catches for 99 yards.
On their first drive of the third quarter, Missouri faked a field goal
at the Carolina 14. Martin Rucker ran to the 1-yard line, but the Tigers
couldn't push it in and Crossett's 22-yard field goal attempt sailed
Smith pulled Missouri to 28-21 with a 31-yard run with 2:41 left in the
third quarter (video).
Another apparent Missouri touchdown was nullified by a 15-yard tripping
penalty. Smith finally got the score on a 4-yard run that tied the score
at 28 early in the fourth quarter.
Crossett kicked a 50-yard field goal to put the Tigers up 31-28, but
Josh Brown countered with a 30 yarder that tied it at 31-all.
Then, with 2:13 remaining, Smith sealed the Missouri win with a 1-yard
SC- Rice 23 yd pass from Mitchell (Brown kick)
SC- Davis 5 yd run (Brown kick)
SC- Askins 20 yd pass from Mitchell (Brown kick)
MU- King 99 yd interception return (Crossett kick)
SC- Davis 2 yd run (Brown kick)
MU- Coffman 5 yd pass from Smith (Crossett kick)
MU- Smith 31 yd run (Crossett kick)
MU- Smith 4 yd run (Crossett kick)
MU- FG Crossett 50
SC- FG Brown 30
MU- Smith 1 yd run (Crossett kick)
SC- Davis 18-132, Wallace 7-19
MU- Smith 21-151, Temple 11-36
SC- Mitchell 20-38-266
MU- Smith 21-37-282
SC- Rice 12-191, Davis 3-11, Askins 1-20, Clark 1-20
MU- Coffman 8-99, Rucker 5-83, Franklin 3-56, Ekwerekwu 3-29