When the Gamecocks were in need, the best advice was to trust in Deebo Samuel.
Samuel broke a second-quarter kick return for a 97-yard touchdown, his second such score of the season. It’s USC’s fourth in 22 games after not getting one since 2002.
At the time, USC trailed 10-0.
It’s the third kickoff return for a touchdown of his career, a USC record. The last player with two in a season was eventual athletics director King Dixon, who did it in 1957.
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On USC’s next offensive play, Samuel scored a 25-yard rushing touchdown, his first of the season and the seventh of his career. On back-to-back touches, he put USC up 14-10.
Defensive back Steven Montac, a projected starter during the summer, didn’t make the trip to Missouri. The former junior college player got on the field against N.C. State, but reaggravated a mid-foot sprain.
Without him, USC appeared to play the same five defensive backs, D.J. Smith, Chris Lammons, Jamyest Williams, Rashad Fenton and Jamarcus King just about every snap of the game.
That group gave up some big plays, as Mizzou’s wide-open defense stressed the group in a lot of spots, but also held talented quarterback Drew Lock to an inefficient day.
▪ Team captains were Samuel, center Alan Knott, defensive tackle Taylor Stallworth and linebacker T.J. Brunson.
▪ Joseph Charlton’s 73-yard punt was the longest for a Gamecock since 1992. His next punt was only 29 yards.
▪ South Carolina defensive lineman Javon Kinlaw blocked a kick in the second quarter. It’s USC’s first blocked kick since Ulric Jones’ against Clemson. Jones also got a piece of it. Kinlaw later tipped a ball Bryson Allen-Williams intercepted.
▪ Late in the game, broadcasting legend Brent Musburger tweeted “Gamecocks are SEC East sleepers. Muschamp better coach than critics claimed when he was hired.”
▪ USC wore garnet helmets with white jerseys and pants.
▪ Junior college transfer offensive lineman Dennis Daley got his first action, going in for Malik Young in the fourth quarter, and holding the spot for the duration.
▪ Junior tight end Hayden Hurst got his first career rushing touchdown with 10:25 left in the fourth quarter from two yards out. It’s his third career carry. He also caught a touchdown.
▪ Ty’Son Williams, a North Carolina running back transfer, set a career high with 79 yards, including a 32-yard scamper.