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Missouri 21, South Carolina 20: Mauktober starts early as Tigers pull off fourth-quarter comeback

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Maty Mauk engineered a dramatic fourth-quarter comeback as Missouri overcame a 13-point fourth-quarter deficit to beat No. 13 South Carolina, 21-20, in Columbia East.

Todd Bennett

Well, we're even, South Carolina. After Steve Spurrier's Gamecocks pulled off a stunning, late comeback to win at Missouri last year, Gary Pinkel's Tigers pulled off a stunning, late comeback to win at South Carolina on Saturday night.

After two-plus quarters of offensive ineptitude, Missouri found itself down 20-7 when Gamecock receiver Pharoh Cooper caught a 23-yard touchdown pass from Dylan Thompson with 7:25 left. Then Maty Mauk put on his rally cap and got to work. He found Bud Sasser for 41 yards, then hit Wesley Leftwich for 26. Russell Hansbrough scored from one yard out to make it 20-14 with 6:49 remaining.

A tired defense then stiffened. Forced to hold on for drive after drive as Mizzou's offense struggled to find a rhythm, the D had begun to waver under South Carolina's power rushing attack. But the Tigers forced a three-and-out, and Marcus Murphy ripped off a nice punt return to set Mizzou up near midfield. Sean Culkin caught a short fourth-and-1 pass to keep Mizzou's hopes alive, Bud Sasser drew a pass interference penalty, and Marcus Murphy gained 22 yards to the South Carolina 2. Three plays gained one yard, but on fourth-and-ballgame with 1:36 left, Hansbrough plunged into the end zone. Andrew Baggett's (!) PAT gave Mizzou a one-point lead, South Carolina went four-and-out against a suddenly vicious Mizzou pass defense, and the offense closed out the game in victory formation.

College football is cyclical, poetic, and inexplicable. Mizzou saw its dream season hit a bump when South Carolina came to Columbia West last year; this time around, after 50 frustrating minutes, the Tigers redefined and reinvigorated their season with a stunning comeback win. And perhaps more importantly, Mizzou enters its bye week with a) a chance to get players like Darius White and Jimmie Hunt healthy and b) the lead, again, in the SEC East.

Commence celebration thread.