As quarterback Brad Smith goes, so goes Missouri. South Carolina knew that, and its game plan of keeping Smith in check worked well for...
SHREVEPORT, La. — As quarterback Brad Smith goes, so goes Missouri.
South Carolina knew that, and its game plan of keeping Smith in check worked well for a half. But Smith broke loose in the second half, rushing for three touchdowns, as the Tigers rallied for a 38-31 victory over the Gamecocks in the Independence Bowl on Friday.
Missouri (7-5) trailed 21-0 after the first quarter. Steve Spurrier-coached South Carolina (7-5) outgained the Tigers 312 yards to 174 in the first half.
Smith accounted for 432 of Missouri’s 504 yards. He rushed for 150 yards on 21 attempts, and completed 21 of 37 passes for 282 yards.
Smith finished the season with 1,301 yards rushing and 2,304 yards passing.
“We knew he was an excellent quarterback,” Spurrier said. “We had him hemmed in in the first half, but we weren’t good enough to do it the whole game.”
Missouri is coached by Gary Pinkel, a former Washington offensive coordinator.
South Carolina’s Blake Mitchell completed 20 of 38 passes for 266 yards, but three of his passes were intercepted. Freshman receiver Sidney Rice caught 12 passes for 191 yards, including a 23-yard touchdown reception.
Mitchell’s 20-yard TD pass to Carson Askins gave the Gamecocks a 21-0 lead with 7:11 left in the first quarter.
Marcus King gave Missouri its first points, intercepting a Mitchell pass and returning it 99 yards.
Smith sealed the victory with a 1-yard TD run with 2:13 to play.
Of the comeback, Missouri safety David Overstreet said, “It shows us no matter where we are or who we play, we can stay with them.”