It was only appropriate that a bizarre week ended with a contest between South Carolina and Missouri featuring more twists and turns than the Tilt-a-Whirl ride being set up in the South Carolina state Fairgrounds.
The Gamecocks overcame a driving rainstorm, a lightning delay that lasted over an hour and five lead changes in the second half to come away with a 37-35 victory over the Tigers in one of the oddest games ever at Williams-Brice Stadium.
“Wow, what a game. Wild game,” USC coach Will Muschamp said. “When you talk in terms of guts and toughness and the resolve in your football team, within your organization, that’s what you’re talking about. A team that continued to fight regardless of circumstance going into the game and regardless of circumstances during the game.”
The rainstorm started at the beginning of the second half and helped energize what was left of the crowd of 73,393 along with the Gamecocks. South Carolina outscored the Tigers 17-0 in the quarter and benefited from a couple of strange plays.
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A sign of things to come came when Missouri seemingly had a 70-yard touchdown run by Damarea Crockett overturned when replays showed Jaycee Horn forced him out of bounds at the USC 11. Two false starts and an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on the Tigers forced a punt attempt on fourth-and 33 from the 34-yard line.
Missouri punter Corey Fatony mishandled the snap and Bryson Allen-Williams dropped him for a 13-yard loss to set up White’s 42-yard field goal that gave the Gamecocks their first lead at 24-23.
Three plays later, Sherrod Greene returned an interception 12 yards for the score when the intended receiver fell down in the wet conditions. That gave the Gamecocks 10 points in a 15-second span when moments before it looked like they would be trailing 30-21.
“I read the play from the jump, because I knew it was a third down situation,” Greene said. “I knew they needed a big play and I was expecting the screen when I saw the guards and tackle screen out.”
The Tigers later missed a 25-yard field after having a first and goal at the USC 2-yard line.
South Carolina offered up it’s litany of miscues in special teams in the fourth quarter. Missouri blocked a punt and had another one that Joseph Charlton dropped and was forced to try and run for a first down but came up short. Missouri turned those miscues into nine points.
The teams waited out the hour and 16-minute delay in which they were sent back into the locker room once just four minutes before play was set to resume. When they did come back out, Tucker McCann nailed a 57-yard field goal to give Missouri a 35-34 lead with 1:18 remaining.
That set the stage for White’s heroics.
The long delay helped on the final kick in one way. White was able to change out of his water-logged socks and hang up his cleats to dry to allow him to nail his 33-yard game-winner.
“This is probably one of the craziest games I have ever been a part of, even back to little league ball,” Allen-Williams said.