Connor Shaw and South Carolina stun Missouri; more late Week 9 Snap Judgments
• No. 20 South Carolina 27, No. 5 Missouri 24 (2OT): A few weeks ago, Missouri was regarded as a pleasant surprise. The Tigers were undefeated, but their gauntlet of upcoming games against traditional SEC powers was supposed to knock Mizzou back to Earth and restore the natural order of things. Only somebody forgot to tell the Tigers. Coach Gary Pinkel's team beat then-No. 7 Georgia on Oct. 12 and then-No. 22 Florida on Oct. 19. Through three quarters on Saturday, it appeared a victory over No. 21 South Carolina was going to move the Tigers to 8-0 and all but wrap up the SEC East, barring some kind of epic collapse.
Sick and limited with a shoulder injury this week, Shaw (20-of-29, 201 passing yards, three touchdowns) took the field in the third quarter to relieve the struggling Dylan Thompson, who had been hounded by defensive end Michael Sam and Missouri's pass rush. Trailing 17-0, Shaw led the Gamecocks to 17 unanswered points to tie the game with 42 seconds remaining. On South Carolina's final drive in regulation, Shaw exploited the attacking Tigers' D with some well-timed screen passes. He ultimately connected with Nick Jones for a two-yard score to force extra football.
After Mizzou's Marcus Murphy (12 carries, 53 rushing yards, two touchdowns) opened overtime with a one-yard score, Shaw summoned some more magic. This time, he found wide receiver Bruce Ellington (10 catches, 136 yards, two touchdowns) on fourth-and-goal from the 15-yard line to push the game into a second extra period.
Missouri's defense held the Gamecocks to a field goal, and the Tigers started pushing toward the end zone. After their possession stalled, kicker Andrew Baggett attempted a 24-yard field goal to send the game into a third overtime. On the hold, the laces stayed in -- and the kick ricocheted off the upright.
A quick sampling of the immediate reaction:
Missouri quarterback Maty Mauk was far from perfect, going 10-of-25 for 249 yards with a touchdown and an interception. But his defense -- and a 96-yard touchdown reception by L'Damian Washington -- made things a bit easier, at least until Shaw decided to spoil the Tigers' party. Even if injured quarterback James Franklin had been available (the senior is out with a separated shoulder), a 17-point lead should have been more than enough cushion with less than a quarter to play.
This is a gut-wrenching loss for Mizzou, and yet another wild game in the SEC East, which now remains up for grabs. South Carolina improves to 6-2, as the team will try to build on this impressive come-from-behind road win. [RECAP l BOX]
• No. 4 Ohio State 63, Penn State 14: Finally, the Buckeyes turned in the type of dominant performance they've lacked for most of the season. Ohio State controlled this one from the get-go, scoring on its opening possession and never letting up. The Buckeyes piled up 688 yards of total offense, and both quarterback Braxton Miller (252 passing yards, 69 rushing yards, five total touchdowns) and running back Carlos Hyde (147 rushing yards, two touchdowns) shined.
For better or worse, we've reached the point in the season in which voters are going to compare top teams' performances, and Ohio State desperately needed a convincing win to keep pace with the likes of Alabama, Oregon and Florida State. Road conference games are always tough for true freshman quarterbacks, and Penn State's Christian Hackenberg (12-of-23, 112 passing yards, one touchdown, two interceptions) was tossed into a hornet’s nest at Ohio Stadium. [RECAP l BOX]
• No. 2 Oregon 42, No. 12 UCLA 14: This game was actually tied 14-14 at the half. But Oregon flipped a switch after the break, outscoring UCLA 28-0 behind a relentless ground game and a defense that doesn't get nearly enough national recognition. The Ducks made UCLA quarterback Brett Hundley noticeably uncomfortable, as the sophomore went just 13-of-19 for 64 yards with two interceptions. In a day when Alabama and Florida State both routed inferior opponents, Oregon made a statement of its own by handling a young but talented Bruins team. SI.com's Stewart Mandel was in Eugene and has more from the scene. [RECAP l BOX]
• No. 6 Baylor 59, Kansas 14: More yards. More points. More blowouts. The Bryce Petty Experience continues to roll, and Kansas was merely the latest tour stop. Petty finished 20-of-32 for 430 yards with three touchdowns. (He added a rushing score as well.) Lache Seastrunk ran for 109 yards and a score, and Tevin Reese made four catches for 110 yards and two touchdowns. Baylor finished with 740 yards of total offense on the night. The Bears can quell whatever remains of a they-haven't-played-anybody argument in their next game: Baylor hosts Oklahoma on Nov. 7. [RECAP l BOX]
• No. 13 LSU 48, Furman 16: The Paladins gave the Tigers a scare early and trailed just 20-16 at the break. But LSU eventually pulled it together, riding a heavy dose of backs Jeremy Hill and Terrence Magee, who combined for 249 rushing yards and four touchdowns. Now the Tigers have a bye week to prepare for a Nov. 9 showdown with top-ranked Alabama. [RECAP l BOX] • No. 11 Auburn 45, Florida Atlantic 10: This was an easy win, but Auburn fans are a bit worried after quarterback Nick Marshall went out with what appeared to be a shoulder injury. It may have been precautionary, and freshman Jeremy Johnson was more than good enough in relief, finishing 10-of-16 for 191 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. Auburn continues its surprising campaign and improves to 7-1. The Tigers outgained FAU 628-247 and held the Owls to just nine first downs. [RECAP l BOX]