South Carolina has climbed back into the Associated Press Top 25 for the first time since Week 2 of the 2018 season.
Now the No. 25 Gamecocks (5-2, 2-2 SEC) will try to maintain their national ranking when they host Missouri (3-4, 1-3 SEC) Saturday in Columbia, S.C.
“When you are the head coach and you are ranked, it is certainly something we are proud of but not satisfied with,” South Carolina coach Shane Beamer said Tuesday. “I look at it more as it is just the next step. Credit the players and the people in this program.”
South Carolina moved back into prominence by winning at No. 13 Kentucky 24-14 on Oct 8, then holding off Texas A&M 30-24 at home last Saturday.
“It’s the first time we’ve ever beaten A&M. We knew this was a huge game, one of the biggest ones of the season, and we were locked in all week,”
Gamecocks quarterback Spencer Rattler said. “We expected to come out here and win.”
Rattler passed for 168 yards against Texas A&M as the Gamecocks extended their winning streak to four games, their longest since 2013. He has completed 124 of 195 passes for 1,466 yards, five touchdowns and eight interceptions this season.
“He does a good job handling their pro-style offense,” Missouri coach Eli Drinkwitz said of Rattler. “He’s able to create space with his feet and keep his eyes down the field to extend plays. He’s able to throw the ball vertically down the field. He’s been doing a good job of getting his playmakers the ball.”
Running back MarShawn Lloyd paced the South Carolina offense by rushing for 92 yards and two touchdowns against the Aggies. Overall, he has 699 yards and 11 touchdowns rushing and receiving this season.
Missouri overcame a series of offensive breakdowns to edge Vanderbilt 17-14 in its last game. Drinkwitz came into this practice week looking to fix problems with pass protection and run blocking. The Tigers mustered just 76 yards offense in the second half against the Commodores. Brady Cook completed 17 of 25 passes for 211 yards and one touchdown, but he suffered three sacks, one that led to a fumble, and threw an interception.
“The way Brady is getting hit right now, we aren’t going to survive at quarterback allowing free shots like that,” Drinkwitz said. “We got to fix it in protection and scheme because that crap is unfair.”
Cook has completed 128 of 196 passes for 1,428 yards, six touchdowns and seven interceptions this season. Drinkwitz had prepared freshman quarterback Sam Horn to play some against the Commodores, but the blocking breakdowns prompted him to nix that plan.
Wide receiver Luther Burden III caught four passes for 66 yards and a touchdown and added a 10-yard TD run against Vanderbilt. Running back Cody Schrader gained 84 yards on 14 carries.
Missouri is 7-5 all-time against South Carolina and has won three straight in the series. –Field Level Media