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Missouri wins defensive struggle over South Carolina

Freshman quarterback Connor Bazelak passed for 203 yards in a defensive struggle Saturday as Missouri won 17-10 at Columbia, S.C., over a South Carolina team playing its first game without former head coach Will Muschamp.

Muschamp was fired last Sunday after going 28-30 since his hire in 2016. Former Colorado State coach Mike Bobo is the Gamecocks’ interim head coach.

The Gamecocks (2-6) have lost four straight games.

Missouri (3-3) played the game without defensive coordinator Ryan Walters, who is in COVID-19 contact tracing and did not make the trip. Cornerbacks coach David Gibbs served as the Tigers’ defensive coordinator during the game.

South Carolina rallied in the fourth quarter with a 13-play, 77-yard drive that was capped by a 1-yard touchdown run by Deshaun Fenwick with 4:59 left in regulation to cut the lead to 17-10.

Backup quarterback Luke Doty engineered that drive. He was inserted at quarterback in the second half for South Carolina after starter Collin Hill completed 6 of 10 passes for only 39 yards before halftime.

Doty provided a spark gaining 59 yards rushing on 11 carries while passing for 130 yards, completing 14 of 23 attempts. His interception, snared by linebacker Devin Nicholson with 53 seconds remaining, stopped a drive at the South Carolina 37 after the Gamecocks started at their own 1.

Bazelak completed 21 of 33 pass attempts with a touchdown and interception.

Missouri did not score in the second half after leading 17-0 at halftime. The Tigers had 301 yards in the game, including only 98 on the ground while South Carolina amassed just 283 yards.

The Gamecocks had only five first downs and did not enter the red zone in the first half.

After having to punt from their own 7, the Gamecocks yielded a 46-yard drive to Missouri to open the scoring. Bazelak connected on a 20-yard touchdown pass to Tauskie Dove to put the Tigers ahead 7-0 with 7:10 left in the first quarter.

Larry Rountree III capped a six-play, 58-yard possession with a 1-yard scoring run to increase the lead to 14-0 with 11:58 remaining in the second quarter.

Harrison Mevis made a 20-yard field goal as time expired in the first half.