placekicker Andrew Baggett secured the extra point after running back Russell Hansbrough scored his third and final touchdown with 1:36 left on the clock to lead Mizzou Football to a 21-20 victory over South Carolina at Williams-Brice Stadium in the third annual Mayor’s Cup.
With the win, Mizzou Football (4-1, 1-0 SEC) sits atop the SEC East as the sole team without a conference loss.
Mizzou came out firing, stopping South Carolina’s attempt to convert on fourth-and-1 from their own 42 on the opening series. The Tigers scored four plays later. Linebacker Kentrell Brothers leveled the South Carolina running back at the line of scrimmage, and then two completions to Bud Sasser and an offsides penalty on the Gamecocks set Hansbrough up for an 18-yard touchdown scamper to put Mizzou up 7-0.
Maty Mauk connected with Sasser for 41 yards down the left sideline on the first play of Mizzou Football’s ensuing possession, then found Wesley Leftwich on a crossing pattern that the junior wide receiver marched all the way down to the one yard line. Hansbrough then had a highlight reel reversal, in which he took the misdirection handoff, went left, cut right, and trotted into the endzone untouched to bring Mizzou Football within six with 6:49 to go.
The defense continued its stellar play, forcing South Carolina into a three-and-out. With 4:40 left, Mauk brought the offense back out. A Hansbrough run on third-and-10 came up a yard short of the sticks, but Mauk hit tight end Sean Culkin on a beautifully executed play-action on fourth down to move the chains and keep Mizzou’s hopes alive.
Following a pass-interference penalty, Marcus Murphy found a hole and hurried 22 yards down to the Gamecock 2. Three runs later, Mizzou Football faced yet another fourth down. With the game hanging in the balance, Hansbrough bulled through the line for his third score, and Andrew Baggett nailed the extra point to give Mizzou Football their first lead of the second half.
Phenomenal pass coverage forced four straight incompletion on South Carolina’s ensuing possession to seal the exhilarating one-point road victory.
Although Hansbrough was responsible for all three of Mizzou’s touchdowns, the defense also shined in the game. They held South Carolina to a season-worst 338 yards, forced nine punts, and didn’t allow the Gamecocks to gain a single yard on their final two possessions.
Mizzou got to the quarterback four times, upping their season sack total to an SEC-best 18. Shane Ray led the charge with two sacks and is now first in the nation with eight QB takedowns on the season. Matt Hoch and Harold Brantley contributed the other two, and the rest of the Mizzou defensive front provided constant pressure all night.
With the win, Mizzou Football has now won seven straight games away from home and is undefeated in SEC road games since the beginning of the 2013 season.
Mizzou Football has its first bye of the season this week before returning to The ZOU on Saturday, October 11, for an East Division showdown with Georgia. Check in with GaryPinkel.com on Monday, September 29, 2014 to find out what time the game will kick off and where to watch.