COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP)Brady Cook ran for a touchdown and directed three long, first-half scoring drives as Missouri built a 17-0 lead on the way to its fourth straight win over No. 25 South Carolina, 23-10, on Saturday night.
Receiver Dominic Lovett had career highs with 10 catches for 148 yards while the Tigers’ defense had 11 tackles behind the line of scrimmage and held the Gamecocks (5-3, 2-3 Southeastern Conference) to 203 total yards. The Tigers (4-4, 2-3) won their second straight after starting league play 0-3.
Missouri beat a ranked opponent for the first time since its 45-41 win over No. 17 LSU on Oct. 10, 2020.
It ended the Gamecocks four-game win streak – and also ended their stay in the national rankings after getting in this past week for the first time in four years.
Cook proved a steady hand against a South Carolina defense that was active and opportunistic in beating No. 19 Kentucky on Oct. 8 and Texas A&M last week.
Cook led a 15-play, 96-yard scoring drive that took up most of the first quarter and which he ended with his 3-yard burst to the end zone.
The Tigers went on another lengthy drive on their next possession, this one going 84 yards in 10 plays and finishing with Cody Schrader’s 1-yard run.
Missouri looked to make it three-straight touchdown drives as it had a first-and-goal on the South Carolina 3. But the Gamecocks forced Cook into a couple of incompletes before settling for Harrison Mevis’ 19-yard field goal and a 17-0 lead.
The Gamecocks could not dig themselves out of that hole and finished with its fewest points since losing to No. 1 Georgia 48-7 on Sept. 17.
Quarterback Spencer Rattler scored the team’s lone touchdown on a 7-yard run right before halftime.
Rattler passed for just 146 yards with an interception and a fumble deep in Tigers’ territory. Tailback MarShawn Lloyd, who ran for 451 yards and seven TDs as South Carolina won its past four, had just 30 yards on seven attempts.
Mevis added field goals of 50 and 32 yards for Missouri in the second half.
Missouri: The Tigers moved the ball consistently on offense and were dominant on defense to totally take apart South Carolina. If Missouri can keep Cook protected and continue its defensive success on third downs (the Gamecocks converted just 5 of 13 chances), it will be in every game down the stretch.
South Carolina: All the good things the Gamecocks had gained on offense and defense during their four-game winning streak went up in smoke against Missouri. They’ll have to get right in a hurry to reach a bowl game. After a trip to Vanderbilt, they finish with an Orange Crush of Florida, No. 3 Tennessee and No. 5 Clemson.
Missouri returns home to play No. 19 Kentucky on Saturday.
South Carolina goes to Vanderbilt on Saturday.
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