Gamecocks take advantage of Miss. State mistakes in 34-16 victor - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Gamecocks take advantage of Miss. State mistakes in 34-16 victory

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COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) -

Mississippi State held on to the ball for over 33 minutes, South Carolina converted just 1 of 11 third down attempts, and the Gamecocks offense got just 3 yards of offense in the second quarter.

In writing, that sounds like the recipe for disaster for the Gamecocks. In reality, they shined and dominated the Bulldogs in the most important metric of all: the final score.

South Carolina extended its home winning streak to 15 straight and the Gamecocks handled Mississippi State 34-16.

The defense continued to show they're getting better and better each week. The Gamecocks generated five turnovers and turned them into 20 points.

"I think we scored on all of them, usually touchdowns, but we did have a couple field goals that we had to kick. They were very crucial," said head coach Steve Spurrier.

"Turnovers were the story of the game," said Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen.

"I think if you flip the turnover ratio and they have five turnovers and we have zero, we could've won this game."

South Carolina defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward has received plenty of criticism during the season, but he says his unit is beginning to play with a speed fans are familiar with.

"We're settling down and coming to play defense the way we're used to around here," said Ward.

Even junior defensive end Jadeveon Clowney has noticed the defensive zeal recently.

"I told the guys we had a good group of freshmen coming in, and it's going to take some time for them to come around, and they've finally started to come around," said Clowney.

Freshmen Skai Moore and T.J. Holloman both had big time turnovers that the Gamecocks quickly converted to easy points.

But the offense sputtered to start off. However, senior quarterback Connor Shaw finally got a bit of rhythm going thanks to two touchdowns from a returning Shaq Roland, who said he had a good week in practice.

"I just wanted to stay focused," said Roland. "I knew I was going to have opportunities to catch the ball, but the main thing was to stay focused."

 Shaw, who said he didn't have the best game, ended up scoring four touchdowns and tying a personal record for most touchdown passes in a game.

He's just ignoring the records.

"I don't keep up too much with career records," said Shaw. "It's good to have four touchdowns, and I think we were four of four in the red zone."

Davis, meanwhile, was paying attention to the records. He eclipsed 1,000 yards rushing during this game, joining eight other Gamecocks such as Marcus Lattimore in passing 1,000 yards.

"I'm proud of myself, and I'm glad I was able to go to like number eight," said Davis. "It's a great feeling."

However, Davis gave credit to the Gamecocks offensive line for helping him out.

"I got 1,000 yards, but I'll say those 1,000 yards came from the offensive line. They're the ones who have pushed me," said Davis.

Shaw said he was "so proud" of Davis for his accomplishment.

"He's such a hard-nosed runner; very powerful, very quick, deceptive; deceptively fast," said Shaw.  

South Carolina has the week off, but they return to Williams-Brice Stadium to play Florida for their final game of the SEC schedule. If they win, they have a chance to play for the SEC Championship at the end of the season.  

"It is neat to think that we're in the hunt for a division title during the last game of the season," said Spurrier.

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