Photo: Victoria Richman / The Daily Gamecock

Four takeaways from South Carolina's win against Missouri

The South Carolina football team defeated Missouri 31-13 on Saturday night. After a slow start offensively, the Gamecocks found their stride to blow past the Tigers and score 21 unanswered points.

It was a big win for the Gamecocks, who are 2-0 for the first time since 2012 and have a lot of positives to take away from this game. Here are four key takeaways from Saturday's victory:  

Defense improves

In Week 1 against N.C. State, the Gamecocks allowed quarterback Ryan Finley to throw more than 400 yards. This week, they held Missouri quarterback Drew Lock to just under 44 percent on completions, allowing just 245 yards and picking him off twice. Lock was coming off a seven-touchdown performance in Week 1 against Missouri State, but the Gamecocks held him to one passing touchdown and Missouri to only 13 points.

Hurst cements place atop SEC

Hurst was quiet on the receiving end in Week 1, but in Week 2 he made his presence known. Hurst caught three passes for 69 yards, including a 39-yard score. He also recorded an impressive two-yard touchdown run, barrelling his way through defenders into the end zone. Whether pass blocking, run blocking or reeling in passes, the 24-year-old is a force for the Gamecocks offensively. Hurst’s two touchdowns are double the amount he recorded all last season. His offensive emergence could be big for the Gamecocks, who are already loaded with weapons on that side of the ball.

Run game comes alive

Late in Saturday's game, redshirt sophomore running back Ty’Son Williams became a spark for the Gamecocks run game. The North Carolina transfer finished with 14 carries for 78 yards, including a 32-yard scamper. Along with Williams, the Gamecocks used Rico Dowdle, Deebo Samuel, A.J. Turner and Hurst to account for the team’s 172 rushing yards. The committee approach proved wise in the end, as South Carolina finished with two rushing touchdowns compared to zero rushing touchdowns from Missouri. 

Samuel shines

Just when it looked like the Gamecocks were down-and-out with no momentum, Samuel struck again. The wide receiver took back his second kickoff return for a touchdown in two weeks, this one going for 97 yards. Just like that, Samuel's touchdown flipped the game's momentum like a switch. On the next drive of the game, the Gamecocks picked off Lock, and Samuel took a jet sweep 25 yards to the end zone for his fifth touchdown of the season on the very next play. Samuel also finished with five catches for 45 yards. When Samuel gets his touches, it makes South Carolina a hard team to defend. 

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