COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - Mississippi wasn't ready for the Top 5 -
or South Carolina's defense.
Star passer Jevan Snead was hounded all game and the
fourth-ranked Rebels never got in gear, losing to South Carolina
16-10 Thursday night.
South Carolina (3-1, 1-1 Southeastern Conference) had been 1-31
all-time against Top 5 foes, but left Williams-Brice Stadium with
the biggest win of coach Steve Spurrier's five seasons.
Spencer Lanning kicked three field goals and fullback Patrick
DiMarco a key 2-yard TD catch for the Gamecocks.
"It was good to get a win when everybody watches," Spurrier
said. "It was good for all Gamecocks."
Ole Miss (2-1, 0-1) had one last chance at a go-ahead TD that
would've extended its eight-game winning streak. But Snead was
sacked by Cliff Matthews, then had a fourth-down pass knocked away
by Darian Stewart.
The Rebels began the day with their highest ranking in nearly
four decades. But they lost their SEC opener for the sixth straight
season - and will likely drop down the polls once the new rankings
The Gamecocks jumped around when the game ended, celebrating a
victory these players had never enjoyed before at their own
stadium. South Carolina's lone top-5 win came at North Carolina in
"It was a pretty ugly win, but a win and we'll take it every
time," Gamecocks quarterback Stephen Garcia said.
Snead came into the season with a Tim Tebow-like buzz - Spurrier
even voted him preseason first-team SEC quarterback before changing
Snead, though, flopped in front a national audience eager to see
what the Rebels were made of.
The Ole Miss junior missed six straight throws during one
stretch and only once came through with a critical play. His
45-yard TD pass to Markeith Summers with under 10 minutes left in
the game that cut it to 16-10.
South Carolina's defense had to come through after that because
the offense, which controlled things for much of the first three
quarters went three-and-out on its final four possessions.
Snead's 11-yard pass to Pat Patterson brought Ole Miss to the
Gamecock 32 with 2:55 to play. Then coach Houston Nutt tried to
outfox South Carolina.
A carry by Brandon Bolden out of the "Wild Rebel" package went
for a yard. A double reverse to Dexter McCluster lost 4 yards.
Matthews followed with his sack of Snead before Stewart
preserved the win by batting down the final pass.
"We thought we could beat them. Thought it was a toss-up
game," Spurrier said. "But the way it turned out, the way our
defense played, 16 points was enough."
Snead had thrown at least two TD passes in each of his past
eight games. He finished this game 7 of 21 for 107 yards.
Right from the start, Snead and the Rebels looked tight. They
had only four drives in the opening half, three that ended without
a first down.
Eric Norwood ended the Rebels' first drive with his
school-record 27th sack.
Snead passed for just 30 yards as the Rebels were outgained by
South Carolina 181-71 in the first 30 minutes.
Bolden appeared to get things going with a 59-yard touchdown
run. A holding penalty, however, brought that back and the Rebels
eventually settled for their only points of the half on Joshua
Shene's 42-yard field goal.
Mississippi came close to scoring just once more, but instead of
another field goal, Nutt went with a fake. Holder Justin Sparks'
pass to Derrick Davis came up 2 yards shy of a first down.
The Gamecocks had more plays and more yardage. They, too, though
had trouble finding the end zone.
Garcia fumbled away one drive after a sack on Ole Miss 16 in the
first quarter. An illegal shift on the Rebels' 4 led to Lanning's
first field goal.
Freshman receiver Tori Gurley caught Garcia's pass and took it
in for a 12-yard score right before halftime. But South Carolina
was flagged for an ineligible receiver downfield. Lanning converted
a 20-yard field goal to put the Gamecocks ahead 6-3 at the break.