South Carolina fell short to the Ole Miss Rebels Saturday night at Vaught Hemingway Stadium with a final score of 59-42.
Sophomore running back Kevin Harris had a dominant game with 25 rushing attempts for 243 yards and five touchdowns, averaging 9.7 yards per carry. The five touchdowns set a new school single game record.
“We ran for over 300 yards,” South Carolina head coach Will Muschamp said in a postgame press conference. “We did exactly what we needed to do offensively.”
In the opening drive of the game, the Gamecock offense marched down the field for 75 yards in five minutes, capitalizing the first drive with a one-handed catch by senior wide receiver Shi Smith, making the score 7-0. The offense also established the run game with Harris, who had seven carries for 31 yards in the first drive.
Ole Miss responded on its first drive with a three-yard touchdown reception by senior wide receiver Dontario Drummond, tying the game up at 7-7. After an interception from graduate senior Collin Hill, the Rebels converted the turnover to more points from a three-yard rushing touchdown by sophomore quarterback Matt Corral, finishing the first quarter with a score of 14-7.
South Carolina banked on the run game in the first half. Harris and redshirt sophomore running back Deshaun Fenwick contributed a combined 16 carries for 144 yards, in which Harris had two touchdowns. Hill finished the half with eight completions for 89 yards and a touchdown, in which his one incompletion was an interception. Ole Miss had the lead 24-21 going into halftime.
Towards the end of the third quarter, South Carolina’s defense stepped up and held Ole Miss’s offense to its first three and out. Harris took advantage of the opportunity to take the lead and scored a 44-yard touchdown, giving the Gamecocks a lead of 35-31.
With Ole Miss’s run defense still not present, Harris snuck in yet another touchdown, adding his fifth total touchdown on the game. This gave the Gamecocks the lead, 42-38, with nearly 13 minutes left in the fourth quarter.
In the responding drive, Ole Miss scored on a 91-yard passing touchdown to junior wide receiver Elijah Moore to reclaim the lead, 45-42.
“We didn’t make enough plays defensively; you know, call it like it is,” Muschamp said. “Life ain’t fair sometimes.”
With South Carolina offensive coordinator Mike Bobo’s offense unable to respond, Mississippi got the ball back and sophomore running back Jerrion Ealy ran the ball into the endzone, extending the team's lead to 52-42 with about six minutes remaining in the game.
With the Gamecocks’ offense unable to keep up in the final minutes of the game, Ole Miss sealed the victory with a final score of 59-42.
“We gotta go back at it,” Muschamp said. “Our guys will respond, and they’ll respond the right way.”
South Carolina will kick off at home against Missouri at 7:30 p.m. next Saturday, Nov. 21.