Rattler Leads Gamecocks to 37-30 Victory Over Mississippi State in a Shoot-out

Dick Cox

September 25, 2023 at 8:07 pm.

South Carolina, led by the near-perfect play of senior quarterback Spencer Rattler, unleashed a potent offensive performance on their way to a 37-30 SEC win over Mississippi State in front of a sell-out crowd of 78,331 at Williams Brice Stadium. The game was a match-up of two of the top quarterbacks in the SEC. Rattler completed his first 17 passes in a row before throwing his first incomplete pass with 13:19 to go in the 4th quarter. He finished the game 18-of-20 passing for 288 yards and three touchdowns. Rattler also ran eight times for 43 yards. Mario Anderson was the Gamecocks’ leading rusher with 88 yards on 26 carries.

Mississippi State quarterback, Will Rogers threw for a career-best 487 yards on 30-of-48 passing with a touchdown and an interception. The senior vaulted from sixth to third on the SEC all-time passing list with 11,668 yards, passing Peyton Manning of Tennessee, Chris Leak of Florida and David Greene of Georgia.

The Gamecocks had a 99- and a 98-yard touchdown drive on their first two possessions to take a quick 14-0 lead. Behind the passing of Rogers, the Bulldogs fought back to tie the score at 14-14 before USC was able to take a 20-17 lead into the locker room at halftime.

Rattler’s favorite target, Xavier Legette, caught five passes for 189 yards, including touchdowns of 76 and 75 yards for the Gamecocks. Lideatrick Griffin set a Miss St. school record with 256 yards receiving on seven catches and a touchdown.

After the game, Rattler said, “Today was very balanced. Very efficient in the passing game, aggressive in the one game. You know, credit to the O-line. They gave me time. I caused a few sacks just trying to get in the hole and run. But they did a great job for most of the night. When we run the ball, it’s easier to throw the ball and just know the offense that Dowell has, just run and gun..spread it out. Kinda let me be a point guard out there or something.”

South Carolina Coach Shane Beamer talked about Legette’s ability to make big plays for the Gamecocks. “He works that way in practice and it shows on Saturday nights. He’s a fantastic player. What a way to start the second half, throwing that touchdown pass. Proud of him the way that he continues to work, and, like I said last week, we’ve got to continue to bring some of these other receivers along. Trey Knox did a nice job tonight – four catches; that was big. All those other receivers, while Juice [Wells] is out it’s not just Legette that we can count on. These other guys have to continue to make strides,” said Beamer.

Mississippi State head Coach Zack Arnett talked about what made South Carolina so tough to defend defensively. “They got good players. We got a little bit banged up on defense. We got some guys playing in positions that maybe we didn’t anticipate, but there are no excuses. They got good players. They got a really good quarterback. He was really accurate tonight, and we didn’t do enough to get off the field or disrupt them enough. They made the plays they needed to…We knew we were going to give up some yards and maybe play a little more conservative to protect against some of the deep ones from their really good receiver core, and obviously, we gave up a few deep ones, so I had to play a little bit more bend-but-don’t-break and unfortunately, it didn’t quite work out,” said Arnett.

At halftime South Carolina All-America and All-SEC wide receiver Alshon Jeffery had his jersey retired. Jeffery finished his three-year career with 183 catches for 3,042 yards and 23 touchdowns. He was selected in the second round of the 2012 NFL Draft by Chicago and went on to a nine-year NFL career with the Bears and Philadelphia Eagles. He caught 475 career passes for 6,786 yards and 46 TDs. He made the Pro Bowl in his second NFL season. In his first season with the Eagles, Jeffery played in the Super Bowl, and helped Philadelphia defeat New England with three catches for 73 yards and a touchdown. In 2019, Jeffery made the Bears’ list of the Top 100 players in franchise history.

South Carolina is at No. 21 Tennessee next Saturday night while the Bulldogs host No.12 Alabama.

Coach’s Post-game Report