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October 26, 2013

Game balls: Missouri

COLUMBIA, Mo. - Who deserved a game ball after No. 20 South Carolina's 27-24 win over No. 5 Missouri? Who didn't?

Connor Shaw: What can you say about the gritty senior that hasn't been said already? In his final season as a Gamecock, he comes off the bench, plays through pain and notches the biggest road win of his career in relief of Dylan Thompson. He finished 20-of-29 passing for 201 yards and three touchdowns.

Bruce Ellington: Ellington was superb all game long, also battling through injury, and finished tied for a team-high in catches with 10 for 136 yards and two touchdowns, none bigger than his touchdown catch on fourth-and-15.

Mike Davis: It may seem hard to give a game ball to someone with two fumbles, one inside the 5 yard-line, but his receiving was a huge key to the game. He finished tied with Ellington for the team high with 10 catches for 99 yards and key conversion after conversion.

Kelcy Quarles: Yet another game hero playing through pain to record two sacks on the night and disrupt Missouri's offense time and again. He led the Gamecocks in tackles with six, three for a loss.

Jadeveon Clowney: Though he didn't have the high-profile sacks, he was active all over the field and recorded a season-high five tackles, one for a loss. He also had a pass break-up and a quarterback hurry.

Ronald Patrick: Coming off the field Saturday night, Patrick had to be helped by two South Carolina trainers to make it up the hill into the South Carolina locker room. Playing with a hurt knee, Patrick's performance was gutsy and effective, as Shaw had the time he needed to throw the ball in the second half.

Elliott Fry: Despite missing a 40-yard field goal in the first quarter, Fry rebounded to nail a 20-yard field goal that made the score 17-10, then in overtime drilled a 40-yard field goal that proved the winning points when Missouri kicker Andrew Baggett missed a 24-yard attempt.

Andrew Baggett: Why not? He clunked a 24-yard attempt off the left post to give Steve Spurrier his first overtime win in four tries and put the Gamecocks back in the SEC East race.

Steve Spurrier: It took guts to pull Thompson and try Shaw, especially when Thompson hadn't been playing poorly. His call for the corner route in overtime and the play-calling in the fourth quarter to move the ball up and down the field has to be recognized. And as he said after the game, the Gamecocks are now bowl-eligible!

Lorenzo Ward: After beginning the season much maligned, Ward's defense held prolific Missouri 27 points below their season average through regulation and allowed the Gamecock offense time to finally get their act together and be able to win the game in the second overtime.



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