Mizzou got creative on the next drive. First, a quarterback sneak by QB-turned-receiver Micah Wilson. Then an attempted double pass that receiver Keke Chism knew better to risk with a throw and settled for a 10-yard run. Dominic Lovett took a handoff in the red zone for a 15-yard gain. Bazelak finished the drive with a play-action, fake toss touchdown pass to Daniel Parker Jr.
South Carolina responded with a methodical touchdown drive, converting four third downs on the way to the end zone. Wideout Josh Vann slipped behind cornerback Allie Green IV to haul in Brown’s 26-yard touchdown pass.
The Gamecocks converted the early interception into the game’s first score, a 2-yard Kevin Harris touchdown run. Mizzou’s defense came right back with its second takeaway, a fumble forced and recovered by defensive end Isaiah McGuire in the backfield, South Carolina’s 20th fumble of the season.
Midway through the second quarter, slot receiver Mookie Cooper finally made the impact play Mizzou fans have waited all season to see. The Ohio State transfer got behind the secondary and hauled in a 60-yard touchdown heave from Bazelak just as a defender crashed into the quarterback. It was the first career touchdown for Cooper, a former standout at Trinity Catholic High.