The Daily Gamecock

Notebook vs. Missouri: Mauk overcomes shaky performance to outlast Gamecocks

Streak of 31 consecutive home wins after leading at halftime snapped

Mauk performs when needed - 

Missouri quarterback Maty Mauk did not have an impressive game. His 35 percent (12-for-34) completion percentage is a sign that points toward a dominating South Carolina performance, layered on top of a solid win. The game was seven minutes and 25 seconds away from playing out in that fashion, but Mauk turned on the switch in the waning minutes, illuminating the Tigers’ final plays, while leaving an otherwise forgettable offensive performance in the dark.

Mauk completed five of his first eight passes for 48 yards to start the game. He then hit a rough patch, completing four of 21 passes at one juncture of the contest, . Mauk guided himself out of that funk on a 41-yard pass that brought the Tigers to South Carolina’s 27-yard line, and then converted on Missouri’s next play, a 26-yard pass that led the team to the Gamecocks’ doorstep.  

“We flipped a switch, and Bud [Sasser] made a great catch and then Wesley [Leftwich] did a great job of recognizing the coverage and breaking one off there to get to the one,” Mauk said. “The offensive line did a great job of getting a good push and getting Russell [Hansbrough] in there."

It was the first time Mauk completed consecutive passes since he completed back-to-back passes on his third and fourth attempts of the game.

Halftime home streak snapped — Rarely is a 10-7 halftime described as comforting, nor does it ever indicate that either team has dominated the other. However, in recent years at Williams-Brice Stadium, going into halftime with a lead has become a little more reassuring. Before Saturday’s 21-20 loss to Missouri, the Gamecocks had won 31 consecutive home games when the team was leading at halftime. That streak, of course, was snapped when the Tigers rallied for 14 unanswered points in the fourth quarter.

Another South Carolina streak was snapped earlier this season when Texas A&M upset the Gamecocks 52-28 at Williams-Brice, ending the team’s 18-game home win streak — the longest in the nation at the time. The streak began on Oct. 8, 2011 when South Carolina crushed Kentucky 54-3 in quarterback Connor Shaw’s second start.

Kickoff solution — South Carolina put an end to its special teams woes Saturday night when redshirt sophomore kicker Zack Cimaglia took over kickoff duties in the middle of the game. Cimaglia’s entry came on the heels of a Landon Ard kickoff that went out of bounds, allowing Missouri to begin its drive on its own 35-yard line. Cimaglia’s first kick went out of the back of the end zone, as did his second and third kick. Two of Ard’s kicks were returned for touchdowns last Saturday against Vanderbilt. 

Looking ahead: The Gamecocks will play their fifth SEC game Saturday when they travel to Lexington, Kentucky. Through five weeks, no team has played as many conference games as South Carolina. The Wildcats (3-1, 1-1) dropped a 36-30 triple overtime decision to Florida in their conference opener. Kentucky rebounded the ensuing week, topping Vanderbilt 17-7. Sophomore quarterback Patrick Towles is fourth in the SEC in passing yards but has been sacked 10 times on the season.