Missouri beats South Carolina 24-10
COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) Missouri’s 24-10 victory against South Carolina Saturday marked the first time in the history of the Southeastern Conference that two true freshman quarterbacks started in the same game.
In the end, one proved more effective than the other.
Drew Lock started at quarterback for Missouri in place of Maty Mauk, who was suspended Tuesday for violating team policies. Lock completed 21 of 28 passes for 136 yards and two touchdowns, helping the Tigers (4-1, 1-1) win their first conference game of the season. He is the first freshman quarterback to start for Missouri since Corby Jones in 1995.
”It’s a little overwhelming to say the least,” Lock said of his first start. ”Now that I’ve started and actually won a game, you can’t really put it into words.”
The Tigers gained a season-high 163 rushing yards on 42 attempts. Ish Witter had 17 carries for 98 yards and his first touchdown of the season. Russell Hansbrough had 11 rushes for 43 yards.
Lock said the run game made his first start more manageable.
”Hats off to our offensive line and our running backs,” Lock said. ”They opened up our passing game a ton. They helped me out pretty much the whole game.”
Lorenzo Nunez threw three interceptions in his second start for the Gamecocks (2-3, 0-3), finishing 15 of 24 for 172 yards and a touchdown. He also led the team in rushing with 15 carries for 60 yards.
”We wished he would have thrown those to a little different spot,” coach Steve Spurrier said of Nunez’s interceptions. ”We’ve got to get the ball to the open guy at the right time. We didn’t do that.”
Nunez’s only touchdown pass was nearly intercepted by Aarion Penton near the goal line, but bounced off his hands into the hands of Shon Carson, who crossed the plane for an 8-yard score.
Missouri coach Gary Pinkel was pleased with the win.
”Drew really did some good things for a young player,” Pinkel said. ”I thought he really carried himself well.”
Pharoh Cooper led the Gamecocks in receiving with nine catches for 102 yards. David Williams had nine rushes for 40 yards, but South Carolina was limited to just 5 yards rushing in the first half.
”The only thing we had was Lorenzo,” Spurrier said of the Gamecocks’ run game. ”It’s a huge difference when you can’t run the ball in. We’re struggling doing that.”
Kentrell Brothers started for Missouri and recorded seven tackles, including 1 1/2 for loss. Brothers leads the nation in tackles with 59, but was listed as questionable heading into the game after injuring his left ankle in a 21-13 loss at Kentucky last Saturday.
Missouri captains Kenya Dennis and Ian Simon recorded their first interceptions of the season, as did defensive end Walter Brady. Brady also had two sacks, both on third down.
Brady gave Brothers the credit for the interception.
”Kentrell made a great call,” Brady said. ”He told me to go middle. I went middle, the quarterback folded the ball and just threw it up for grabs, and I knew I had to come down with it.”
Nate Brown had six catches for 33 yards and two touchdowns. Brown is the team’s leading receiver with 17 catches for 192 yards and four touchdowns on the season.
”Once the offense got going, we got our tempo going and everyone was a little more relaxed,” Brown said. ”When you get into a rhythm, it relaxes everybody on the offense and just kind of keeps them focused on their job.”
Missouri’s Terry Beckner Jr. was ejected in the second quarter after being flagged for a targeting hit on Nunez. The 15-yard penalty set up the Gamecocks’ only touchdown.
Tight end Jason Reese had career-highs in catches and receiving yards in place of Sean Culkin, who will miss at least two weeks with a sprained right knee. Reese finished with six receptions for 47 yards.
The Tigers host No. 25 Florida next Saturday in the school’s 104th homecoming. South Carolina will return home to face No. 9 LSU.