COLUMBIA - The highlights are still shown on endless loop. The memories are still fresh. The stakes, rarely bigger for South Carolina, set up the possibility for an unforgettable game when the Gamecocks traveled to Missouri last October.
The result will be etched in history.
A rematch of one of the best games in college football last season will be held when Missouri travels to South Carolina on Sept. 27. The Tigers will have revenge on their mind. The Gamecocks' shocking upset at Faurot Field threatened to derail Missouri's magical 2013 season.
Yet, the two teams that call Columbia home could be playing for more than the remnants of last fall. If things fall into place, both programs could enter September's final Saturday undefeated. Here's a look at what to expect from Missouri this season.
Coach: Gary Pinkel (102-63, 14th season)
Returning starters: 9 (five offense, four defense)
2013 record: 12-2, 7-1 SEC; first place SEC East
Scoring offense: 39.1 points per game (14th in country)
Scoring defense: 23.1 points against per game (34th in country)
Series: South Carolina is tied 2-2
Last meeting: South Carolina beat Missouri 27-24 in double overtime last season. The Gamecocks trailed 17-0 entering the fourth quarter. Quarterback Connor Shaw came off the sideline in the second half to spark a miraculous comeback. It was arguably Shaw's defining moment as South Carolina's quarterback.
5Dimes line: South Carolina 11-point favorite
Three things to know about Missouri
1. Crossroads: The feedback was unkind following Missouri's first season in the SEC. The Tigers, a proud Big 12 program, finished 2012 an embarrassing 2-6 in conference play. Many expected Missouri would be unfit for the SEC, a notion it disproved last season when it made a shocking run to the SEC Championship game. Things won't get any easier, even after Missouri challenged for a national title game berth in 2013. The SEC is a cutthroat league. One step back, and Missouri could easily be lost in the pack. The chance to capitalize on last season's momentum makes this fall critical for the Tigers.
2. Mauk's moment: No longer in James Franklin's shadows, sophomore quarterback Maty Mauk will assume control of the program. Mauk showed he was capable last season, passing for 1,071 yards, 11 touchdowns and two interceptions in relief of Franklin. He led Missouri to wins over Florida and Tennessee, and helped finish an upset at Georgia. Still, there's nothing like being a full-time starting quarterback in the SEC, and Mauk will have to respond accordingly.
3. Thompson's vindication: Missouri won't have the only players hoping to atone for last season. While South Carolina got the last laugh, quarterback Dylan Thompson had a rare, poor performance. Thompson completed 15-of-27 passes for 222 yards, no touchdowns and one interception against the Tigers, and the offense struggled to march down the field. It wasn't until he was replaced by Shaw that South Carolina began its comeback. Thompson won't need to search for motivation against Missouri this season.
Gamecocks schedule glimpse
Week before: at Vanderbilt
Next week: at Kentucky
On the horizon: Furman
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