Scores

Final

Mississippi St 21

(3-2, 1-2 SEC)

South Carolina 38

(4-1, 2-1 SEC)

12:30 PM ET, September 29, 2007

Williams-Brice Stadium, COLUMBIA, SC

1 2 3 4 T
MSST 7 7 7 021
SCAR 7 10 7 1438

Top Performers

Passing: C. Smelley (SCAR) - 279 YDS, 2 TD, 1 INT

Rushing: M. Davis (SCAR) - 18 CAR, 59 YDS, 3 TD

Receiving: K. McKinley (SCAR) - 4 REC, 107 YDS, 2 TD

Smelley's career day leads South Carolina past Miss. St.

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) -- Steve Spurrier finally found a little fun in the South Carolina offense.

Much of that came because of his new quarterback, freshman Chris Smelley, who threw for 279 yards and two touchdowns to lead the 16th-ranked Gamecocks (4-1, 2-1 Southeastern Conference) to a 38-21 win over Mississippi State on Saturday.

"Yeah, it was fun," Spurrier said. "It's a lot more fun seeing the ball in the air."

Smelley got the starting job even before South Carolina cleared out of the lockerroom after last week's 28-16 loss to LSU.

Spurrier, whose "Fun-n-Gun" offense tore up the SEC in 12 seasons at Florida, wasn't able to match the production so far at South Carolina. He thought fifth-year senior Blake Mitchell would be the answer. He wasn't, so Spurrier called on Smelley.

"To get an SEC win out there in my first real big start, it was great," said Smelley, who celebrated his 21st birthday Saturday.

Smelley connected with receiver Kenny McKinley on touchdown passes of 20 and 27 yards, the latter which put South Carolina ahead for good, 24-21, with 3:43 left in the third quarter.

"He made my bad passes look good," Smelley said.

The Gamecocks' defense also looked strong even without injured middle linebacker Jasper Brinkley, who damaged a knee ligament against LSU and had season-ending surgery.

South Carolina gave up only 45 rushing by halftime in stopping Mississippi State (3-2, 1-2), which came to Williams-Brice Stadium with a three-game winning streak.

"I think it probably shows that a team is more than one person," said Marvin Sapp, who started in place of Brinkley.

Mike Davis added two of his three rushing touchdowns (3, 2 and 12 yards) for South Carolina in the final quarter.

The Bulldogs looked like they had taken the game over in the third quarter. Anthony Dixon's second TD run from 2 yards out put Mississippi State ahead 21-17. Then its defense held, forcing the Gamecocks into a missed 50-yard field goal try.

However, South Carolina defensive lineman Eric Norwood blocked Blake McAdams' punt.

One play later, Smelley hit McKinley with a perfect throw and the junior wideout spun out of a tackle and into the end zone for the go-ahead score.

"That was exciting," said South Carolina assistant Shane Beamer, who spent the past three seasons on Mississippi State's staff. "We've been working at it and it was good to see something good happen."

Bulldogs coach Sylvester Croom thought the punt block was crucial.

"At that point the stadium was real quiet. I felt like at that point it felt like we had the upper hand down there on the field, and that changed everything," he said.

McKinley finished with four catches for 107 yards, his second game over 100 yards receiving this season.

Smelley was 19 of 37 with an interception. His previous high in yardage came last week with 174 yards in relief of Mitchell.

Dixon led the Bulldogs with 83 yards and his two rushing scores. Mississippi State didn't do much through the air against the Gamecocks with 118 yards. Quarterback Josh Riddell was 9 of 21 for 101 yards and an interception.

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Team Stat Comparison

 
MSST
SCAR
1st Downs1821
Total Yards258402
Passing118279
Rushing140123
Penalties9-8711-94
3rd Down Conversions3-139-18
4th Down Conversions0-11-2
Turnovers11
Possession30:2129:39

Passing Leaders

Mississippi StateC/ATTYDSAVGTDINT
Riddell9/211014.811
South CarolinaC/ATTYDSAVGTDINT
Smelley19/372797.521

Rushing Leaders

Mississippi StateCARYDSAVGTDLG
Dixon22833.8222
Ducre15684.5013
South CarolinaCARYDSAVGTDLG
Davis18593.3312
Boyd11585.3025

Receiving Leaders

Mississippi StateRECYDSAVGTDLG
Burks24422.0035
Bell12828.0128
South CarolinaRECYDSAVGTDLG
McKinley410726.8248
Cook46616.5031

Scoring Summary

FIRST QUARTERMSSTSCAR
TD10:22Mike Davis 3 Yd Run (Ryan Succop Kick)
Drive: 12 plays, 69 yds, 4:38
07
TD05:17Aubrey Bell 28 Yd Pass From Josh Riddell (Adam Carlson Kick)
Drive: 2 plays, 31 yds, :50
77
SECOND QUARTERMSSTSCAR
TD13:28Kenny Mckinley 20 Yd Pass From Chris Smelley (Ryan Succop Kick)
Drive: 4 plays, 37 yds, 1:52
714
TD02:20Anthony Dixon 1 Yd Run (Adam Carlson Kick)
Drive: 14 plays, 62 yds, 7:00
1714
FG00:02Ryan Succop 45 Yd
Drive: 10 plays, 54 yds, 2:11
177
THIRD QUARTERMSSTSCAR
TD08:56Anthony Dixon 2 Yd Run (Adam Carlson Kick) 177
TD03:43Kenny Mckinley 27 Yd Pass From Chris Smelley (Ryan Succop Kick) 1721
FOURTH QUARTERMSSTSCAR
TD14:07Mike Davis 2 Yd Run (Ryan Succop Kick) 1721
TD00:58Mike Davis 12 Yd Run (Ryan Succop Kick) 1721