South Carolina outlasts Mississippi State in aerial show

South Carolina outlasts Mississippi State in aerial show

South Carolina’s Spencer Rattler flirted with aerial perfection Saturday night in the Gamecocks’ 37-30 victory over Mississippi State in Columbia, S.C.

Rattler, who completed his first 17 passes, went 18-for-20 for 288 yards and three touchdowns for South Carolina (2-2, 1-1 SEC).

Xavier Legette had 189 yards on five receptions with two TDs. Trey Knox caught one.

Running backs Dakereon Joyner and Mario Anderson each found the end zone once.

By winning for the eighth time in the past nine meetings, the Gamecocks took a 10-7 series lead.

For Mississippi State (2-2, 0-2), Will Rogers was 30-for-48 for 487 yards — third most in school history — but he threw an interception and lost a fumble.

Lideatrick Griffin set a school record with 256 receiving yards on seven receptions with a TD.

Starting at the 2 following a punt, South Carolina went 98 yards in six plays, with most of the yardage coming on Rattler’s 76-yard TD pass to wide receiver Legette for a 7-0 lead at 9:46 of the first quarter.

On the next drive from their 1, the Gamecocks strung together a 16-play series that took up nearly half of a quarter – 7:15 – and ended with Knox’s 17-yard score early in the second.

The fireworks continued when Rogers hooked up with Griffin on a two-play, 14-second drive that went 65 yards that halved the deficit.

Rogers was set up to tie the game, but David Spaulding intercepted him inside the red zone on third down at 10:40.

However, the Bulldogs made it 14-all when Jo’quavious Marks scored from seven yards after Rogers set up the score by hitting Griffin for 60 yards.

After Joyner’s TD run from three yards, the Gamecocks missed on a two-point conversion.

Bulldogs kicker Kyle Ferrie’s 49-yard field goal at the half’s end left the visitors down 20-17.

But on the first play from scrimmage in the second half, Rattler remained perfect with his 14th consecutive completion, a 75-yarder to Legette for a 27-17 edge.

At 10:26 of the third, Mississippi State backup quarterback Mike Wright scored on a 1-yard keeper. Ferrie tied it with a 23-yard boot with two minutes left in the third.

South Carolina kicker Mitch Jeter answered from 35 yards for a 30-27 lead at 12:35.

Anderson padded the lead at 9:36 with a 9-yard TD run.

Ferrie’s third field goal, from 47 yards with 2:13 remaining, completed the scoring before a failed onside kick.