SC erases early deficit, beats Missouri 31-13

SC erases early deficit, beats Missouri 31-13

SC erases early deficit, beats Missouri 31-13

The Gamecocks, specifically Deebo Samuel, have returned two kickoffs for touchdowns already this season, and that's not the only area in which their special teams have excelled. Instead, the ball landed in Samuel's hands on the 3-yard line.

Samuel set the tone for a potentially special season for the Gamecocks by taking the opening kickoff 97 yards for a touchdown in the 35-28 win over North Carolina State in Charlotte on September 2.

"Everybody wants to see [Deebo's returns] because we know what we've got back there returning the ball", said Gamecocks defensive back and punt returner Chris Lammons.

He took the season-opening kickoff 97 yards and scored twice more including on a one-handed catch in the end zone in a 35-28 victory over North Carolina State.

Whether it's making red zone stops or forcing turnovers, SC has made the right defensive plays at the right time. "When we're struggling on offense or we need a spark for our team, he's that guy". SC expanded its 14-10 halftime lead with a dominant second half.

A two-time SEC Special Teams Player of the Week, he's helped vault the Gamecocks to an undefeated record through two games for the first time since 2012. Last week against Missouri, Bentley threw for 187 yards and a touchdown. Hurst had two touchdowns - one of 39 yards through the air and another of 2 yards on the ground - doubling his touchdown total from his first two seasons at SC. It gave the Gamecock offense another wrinkle.

The Missouri wide receiver tandem of J'Mon Moore and Johnathon Johnson, who each surpassed 100 yards receiving last week, had minimal impact.

This time past year, Kentucky was sitting 0-2 following the first two games of the season.

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Hayden Hurst caught three passes for 69 yards to lead the team after catching just one pass for minus-two yards in Week One.

"Our guys will handle this fine", Muschamp said. "We didn't play particularly well on the road past year".

"He's really good when the ball is in his hands, but he's also really good when it isn't".

South Carolina: For the second straight week, the Gamecocks won a game in which they were outgained from scrimmage. Against Missouri, it was Ty'Son Williams's turn.

Missouri: Running back Damarea Crockett was having a big night until he jogged off the field with an injury in the third quarter and did not return.

"That's probably the first time I've run a football since Pop Warner, so I was licking my chops a little bit", said Hurst, a 6-foot-5, 250-pound tight end. It was the second-straight week he has returned a kick 97 yards to paydirt.

Kentucky's kickoff coverage against Eastern Kentucky was not stellar Saturday.

In last week's win at Mizzou, the Tigers had the momentum and a 10-0 lead early in the second quarter after a 61-yard touchdown pass from Drew Lock to Jason Reese.

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