On October 17, 1992, the South Carolina Gamecocks earned their first-ever win in the Southeastern Conference. The Gamecocks defeated the Mississippi State Bulldogs 21-6 in Starkville.
Today marked the 14th time that the teams have met since 1992.
Both teams came out flat and ineffective, and the game turned into a punting contest for much of the first quarter. After multiple three-and-outs by both teams and a dropped deep ball by Alshon Jeffery, the Bulldogs struck first with a 19-yard touchdown pass from Tyler Russell to Chris Smith. The first quarter came to a close with the Gamecocks trailing by seven points and the ball on their own 28-yard line.
South Carolina failed to respond with a scoring drive and punted the ball right back to the Bulldogs. They started their drive past midfield but were unable to move the ball against the Gamecocks' defensive unit led by Melvin Ingram, who leads the SEC with 5.5 sacks.
The South Carolina offense finally showed some life after the Gamecocks had a successful fourth-down attempt around the 50-yard line. In a drive that Bruce Ellington, who is also a member of the Carolina basketball team, was showcased, the Gamecocks got on the scoreboard after a 13-play, 80-yard drive. Marcus Lattimore scored his 10th rushing touchdown of the season and tied the game at 7-7 for the Gamecocks.
Midway through the second quarter, Russell was picked off by Reginald Bowens after being pressured by Ingram and Jadeveon Clowney, the No. 1 recruit from last year. However, South Carolina could not capitalize, and Connor Shaw threw an interception in the end zone.
South Carolina tried to score a touchdown late in the first half, but Shaw threw his second interception on a pass intended for Damiere Byrd.
The game would go into halftime tied 7-7.
The Bulldogs got the ball to start the second half but were unable to do anything with it. They were forced to punt the ball away to the Gamecocks. South Carolina drove deep into Mississippi State territory, but was stuffed on a 4th-and-2 attempt at the 25-yard line.
On the Bulldogs' next drive, they worked themselves into field-goal position but could not take the lead. Derek Depasquale, the Mississippi State kicker, missed the 40-yard attempt wide left.
In a third quarter that was dominated by the defenses, neither team was able to score. The uneventful quarter ended like it began, all even at seven a piece.
Depasquale missed a 53-yard field goal to start the fourth quarter, which left the Gamecocks with good field position. However, the offense struggled to get anything going and punted the ball back to Mississippi State.
The offensive ineptitude of both teams finally stopped when the Bulldogs took the lead on a 22-yard field goal by their kicker with under ten minutes left in the game. Mississippi State took advantage of a review that went their way; Chris Smith’s catch that gave the Bulldogs a first down ended up being confirmed by the refs.
With the game hanging in the balance, Connor Shaw was able to put together a 70-yard drive that ended with a 4-yard touchdown pass from Shaw to Jeffery.
Will the South Carolina Gamecocks win the SEC East?
Mississippi State started their drive with just under four minutes left on the clock. The Bulldogs drove into Gamecock territory, but then disaster struck.
D.J. Swearinger picked off a Tyler Russell pass after Melvin Ingram reached the QB and affected his motion.
The big play sealed the victory for South Carolina, who improved to 6-1 on the season. However, the Ol’ Ball Coach has to be concerned about the injury that Marcus Lattimore suffered in the fourth quarter. With the aid of crutches, he hobbled to the locker room before the final whistle blew.
For a team that has quarterback issues, losing your All-American running back could be crippling.