Steve Spurrier and the South Carolina Gamecocks come into Starkville on Saturday's ball game against Mississippi State.
Starkville has been a house of horrors for Spurrier in the past and Dan Mullen and the Bulldogs would like nothing more but to give him another nightmare to remember them by.
South Carolina's quarterback is the red hot Connor Shaw who took over for Stephen Garcia last week due to performance issues. Shaw showed he's got what it takes to be the latest quarterback in the ongoing soap opera that exists between Steve Spurrier and pretty much every quarterback he's every coached. Good luck with the Ole Ball Coach, Conner.
Coincidentally, Garcia was cut from the football team this week for being a party animal...or complete idiot...depends on who you ask.
Mississippi State is no stranger to quarterback drama after last weeks game against UAB. That ball game was a tale of two halves. Chris Relf had the reigns for the first half and the performance was described by many as simply #$%&ing terrible! The second half saw Tyler Russell enter the game and the sophomore finally provided that infamous "spark" Dan Mullen has spoken of numerous times when he was forced to throw the young quarterback into past games.
Although I've heard nothing officially...I would be shocked if we don't see Tyler Russell start this week against South Carolina. I know the good performance last week was to a winless UAB, but still...it was a much different game with him in it.
For this reason, I made the decision to start Russell in this week's simulation.
See what happened after the jump...Mississippi State won the toss and they choose to kick off first to start the game.
The Gamecocks get a nice return and sophomore quarterback Connor Shaw trots onto the field at the 33 yard line. His first play of the game ends with an incomplete pass. He decides to give the ball to Marcus Lattimore on second down and the back carves out an eight yard gain. Third and short sees Connor elect to use a screen pass to Ace Sanders and the effort earns just enough for a first down. Now that he's earned a fresh set of downs, Shaw decides to go to the air again but this time the Bulldogs make him pay for it. Charles Mitchell intercepts the ball and the Bulldogs take over with great field position.
Now it's Tyler Russell's turn. He gives the ball to Vick Ballard on back to back plays and the result is a first down. Tyler decides to throw on the next play but the pass is dropped by Michael Carr. Second down sees an option play that somehow earns a couple of yards. Third down sees Russell trying his hand with another pass and unfortunately it too is dropped by the receiver. State punts the ball away.
South Carolina takes over at the twenty. Shaw hands it off to Lattimore and he gains seven yards. Shaw drops back to pass on second down but finds no one open...he decides to run it himself and is successful getting a first down. Shaw fakes a handoff and immediately throws a bullet down the field. The ball is caught by Alshon Jeffery for a first down. Shaw gives the ball to Lattiomore on the next play for a small two yard gain. On second and eight Shaw tries to run it himself and earns another couple of yards. It's now third and six. Shaw again tries to run the ball and again he is successful in getting a first down. The Gamecocks are now in Mississippi State territory. Connor Shaw drops back to pass but his receiver can't come up with it. The pass is incomplete. On second down Shaw finds no one open and decides to run again...he gets a couple of yards. It's third and eight. Shaw drops back for a pass and fires a bullet right into the hands of Mississippi State linebacker Brandon Wilson!
Tyler Russell and company return to the field. The first play is a run by Ballard that results in a four yard loss. Tyler decides to throw one waaayyy down the field but he overthrows his receiver. He tries almost the same play again and Bumphis is there but drops the ball! State punts the ball away.
South Carolina takes over at their own thirty seven yard line. Connor Shaw decides to run again and gains six yards. The first quarter ends and there is no score.
Shaw hands it to Marcus Lattimore on second down and the back delivers with a first down. Gamecocks are now on the forty eight yard line. Shaw throws a pass and earns and eight yard gain. It's now second and two. Connor Shaw throws a pass that is caught by Alshon Jeffery and the Gamecocks are in the red zone now. Lattimore runs on the next play and gets one yard. He runs again on second down and gets three more yards. Now it's third and goal. Shaw tries to run it in himself but is sacked on the play, South Carolina lines up for a field goal attempt and the kick is good. Gamecocks lead 3-0.
Mississippi State returns the kick all the way into South Carolina territory! The nice return by LaDarius Perkins has the Bulldogs set up with great field position at the Gamecock forty-eight yard line. Tyler Russell elects to hand the ball off to Ballard but the Gamecock defense is ready. The result of the play is a five yard loss. Tyler completes a pass for a five yard gain to Michael Carr. It's third and ten....Russell is sacked on the play! Mississippi State does nothing with the great field position and punts the ball away.
South Carolina returns the ball to the twenty four yard line. Connor Shaw and the Gamecock offense return to the field. On first down Shaw throws a pass for a four yard gain. South Carolina elects to take a time out. Two minutes left in the half. When they return to play Shaw completes a pass to the tight end Justice Cunningham for a first down. The Gamecocks are now going no huddle. Shaw looks to throw again but finds no one open...he tucks it and runs for an eight yard gain. Shaw drops back for another pass and finds a man deep. Ace Sanders catches the pass and suddenly the Gamecocks are in field goal range with a minute and a half left in the half. Shaw looks to the end zone on first down and finds the tight end Justice Cunningham again for a TD. Gamecocks now lead 10-0.
Mississippi State gets the kickoff with a minute and half to go. Perkins returns the ball eighteen yards and Russell comes onto the field at the twenty three yard line. Gamecocks come with a blitz but Russell manages to get the pass away and it's complete to Brandon Heavens for a first down. MSU going no huddle. Tyler completes another pass to Chris Smith and takes a time out. Russell throws another pass on the next play to Chad Bumphis for another first down. Bulldogs are now in Gamecock territory. Vick Ballard attempts a run but goes no where. Russell tries a screen pass that is broken up by the South Carolina defender. It's now third and thirteen with forty five seconds to go in the half. Russell fakes a hand off and just manages to evade a sack. He dances around in the pocket and looks down field. He finally finds a wide open Brandon Heavens sprinting toward the end zone. Russell fires and the ball is delivered on target. Heavens scores a touchdown! The score is now 10-7.
South Carolina has just over forty seconds left to try and score some more points before the half. They take over at the thirty yard line. Shaw throws down field and completes a pass for a first down. Shaw throws another pass down field and it's caught by Jeffery for a huge gain. Gamecocks are already in field goal position again. Shaw continues the no huddle tempo. Shaw scrambles and is sacked. There is only seven seconds left when the ball is snapped and Connor Shaw fires to the end zone. The ball goes right into a Bulldog defender's hands but it's dropped! South Carolina takes a time out with three seconds left and kicks a successful field goal.
The score at half time is 13-7, South Carolina.
MSU is called for holding on the kick return. Tyler Russell takes over at the thirteen yard line. Tyler Russell and LaDarius Perkins run a beautiful option play to perfection and the result is a huge gain. MSU is now in Gamecock territory. Russell tosses the ball to Ballard on the next play for a small three yard gain. Ballard tries his hand at the run again and this time is brought down for a loss. It's third and ten. Tyler Russell tries a pass but is off target. It's fourth and ten and the Bulldogs are gonna go for it. Russell throws a bomb to the end zone but it's well defended. The pass is broken up and a turnover on downs results.
Connor Shaw hands off the ball and the result is a one yard loss. He tries a screen pass on second down and gets one yard. It's third and nine. Shaw completes the pass to Ace Sanders for a huge gain and the Gamecocks are in field goal range. Two short runs find the Gamecocks in a third and four situation. They give it to Lattimore and the Bulldogs step up and stop him. South Carolina settles for another field goal. The score is now 16-7.
MSU takes over after the return at the twenty six yard line. They try an option play on first down and the result is a three yard loss. Ballard rumbles ahead for a new set of downs. The next run attempt is stopped behind the line. It's now second and eleven. Tyler gives it to Ballard again and again he is stopped behind the line. It's third and thirteen. Russell throws a nice pass to Bumphis but it's dropped. MSU punts the ball away.
South Carolina calls a fair catch and they take over at the thirty. Lattimore gets a gain of four yards on the first play. He gets it again and runs for a first down. Once again he tries a run but this time he is stopped. The quarter ends with the Gamecocks leading 16-7.
Marcus Lattimore runs again and is stuffed behind the line. Connor Shaw decides to go to the air on third and long and finds Justice Cunningham wide open. Cunningham runs into the end zone easily and the Gamecocks decide to go for two. The two point conversion is unsuccessful. Gamecocks now lead 22-7.
MSU takes over at the twenty six yard line. Russell hands it to Ballard and he loses a yard. Tyler is sacked on the next play and now its third and sixteen. Russell fumbles the ball but it's scooped up by Ballard. MSU is forced to punt the ball away.
South Carolina takes over at their own forty. Connor Shaw completes a pass to Alshon Jeffery for a first down. Less than three minutes in game. Lattimore runs for no gain. Shaw milks the clock and gives it to Lattimore again...he loses three yards. Shaw is sacked on third down. Gamecocks punt it away.
MSU takes over at twenty. Russell completes a pass to Brandon Heavens for a nine yard gain. The Gamecocks help them out with a first down after an off sides penalty. Russell completes another pass to Bumphis for another first down. MSU in Gamecock territory. Russell spikes the ball to conserve time...however State's got one timeout left. Russell runs for six yards on next play. He completes a pass to Chris Smith and it's now a first and goal situation. Once again Gamecocks jump off side. Three incomplete passes have MSU in a fourth and goal situation. MSU goes for it and Russell's pass is incomplete. Bulldogs turn it over on downs.
South Carolina does the smart thing and runs the clock out.
Gamecocks win 22-7.