Gamecocks leave Mississippi State Rattler-ed

Published 11:41 pm Saturday, September 23, 2023

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Spencer Rattler went 18-of-20 passing for 288 yards and three touchdowns to lead South Carolina to a 37-30 win over Mississippi State on Saturday night.

Rattler’s favorite target, Xavier Legette, caught five passes for 189 yards, including touchdowns of 76 and 75 yards for the Gamecocks (2-2, 1-1 Southeastern Conference).

South Carolina didn’t lean on Rattler entirely. They ran they ball 47 times for 144 yards, a modest total, but nearly triple the 53 yards they averaged in the first three games. Mario Anderson was the Gamecocks’ leading rusher with 88 yards on 26 carries. Rattler also ran eight times for 43 yards.

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“We knew the plays would be there. But we needed to get the run game going,” coach Shane Beamer said.

But when South Carolina needed something, they turned to Rattler, the Oklahoma transfer who in his past seven games has finally shown why he was once one of the Sooners’ most highly touted recruits.

Rattler has thrown just 33 incomplete passes in four games this season, and 20 of them came last week against No. 1 Georgia.

Rattler credits new offensive coordinator Dowell Loggians for his accuracy “The offense, the scheme we have. It’s that simple,” he said.

After three weeks of pounding the ball on the ground with inconsistent results, Mississippi State (2-2, 0-2) returned to the kind of Air Raid passing attack it used under former coach Mike Leach.

Will Rogers threw for a career-best 487 yards on 30-of-48 passing with a touchdown and an interception. Lideatrick Griffin set a school record with 256 receiving yards on seven catches, including a 65-yard touchdown.

It was an encouraging outing after a 41-14 loss last week to LSU and Rogers said the Bulldogs can build on it.

“It starts with practice. You find out a lot about a person when things don’t go right,” Rogers said. “I practiced as hard as I ever practiced. Keep working on it.”

Rogers started the night sixth in all-time passing yards in the SEC. He finished it third.

Rogers’ 487 yards was the third-best day ever for a Bulldog and gave him 11,668 yards for his career. He passed Peyton Manning of Tennessee, Chris Leak of Florida and David Greene of Georgia all in one night. Missouri’s Drew Lock (12,193 yards) is next on the list, and then Georgia’s Aaron Murray (13,166) is the recordholder.

“He’s been like that since his freshman year. He’s a leader. We follow him,” Griffin said.