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No. 15 South Carolina edges Mississippi State

Oct 15, 2011 - 10:06 PM Starkville, MS (Sports Network) - Alshon Jeffery caught a four-yard touchdown pass late in the fourth quarter to lift the 15th-ranked South Carolina Gamecocks to a 14-12 victory over the Mississippi State Bulldogs.

Connor Shaw threw for just 155 yards with two interceptions for the Gamecocks (6-1, 4-1 SEC), but found Jeffery in the end zone with 3:50 remaining for the go-ahead score.

Tyler Russell completed 11-of-29 passes for 165 yards and a touchdown for the Bulldogs (3-4, 0-4). He was intercepted by D.J. Swearinger with 1:45 remaining, sealing the South Carolina win.

The Gamecocks survived a late injury to running back Marcus Lattimore, who sprained his left knee during the fourth quarter.

"We could be without Marcus for a while but we'll have to wait and see about that," South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier said after the game.

South Carolina dismissed troubled fifth-year senior quarterback Stephen Garcia earlier in the week. Shaw though, was not pressed into service. He had taken over for Garcia prior to the dismissal, leading the Gamecocks to a 54-3 route of Kentucky last Saturday.

Russell also spurred his team to a win last week, taking over for starter Chris Relf at halftime and throwing for 166 yards and three touchdowns in a 21-3 victory over UAB. He had a tougher time on Saturday.

"I did not play well enough today," said Russell. "Sometimes I made the play and sometimes I did not. We are close as a football team from taking that next step. It is never fun to lose."

Mississippi State, which has dropped six straight to South Carolina, accounted for the lone score of the first quarter, taking a 7-0 lead on Russell's 19- yard touchdown pass to Chris Smith.

The Gamecocks tied the game early in the second quarter. Shaw converted a 4th- and-1 during the 80-yard drive and Lattimore had a pair of third down conversions before punching it in from four yards out to make it a 7-7 game.

The teams remained deadlocked at the half, as Shaw closed the second quarter with a pair of interceptions -- to Johnthan Banks and Nickoe Whitley -- and Russell was intercepted by Reginald Bowens.

Derek DePasquale's missed field goal marked a scoreless third quarter. He was short on a 53-yard attempt to begin the fourth, but hit a 22-yarder on the Bulldogs' next possession to make it a 10-7 game.

This time, Shaw responded, moving the Gamecocks 79 yards down the field for the go-ahead score. On 3rd-and-goal, Shaw threw a jump ball to Jeffery, who extended over two Bulldogs defenders to secure the four-yard touchdown pass.

"We had a bunch of bad plays, but somehow or another Connor found Alshon on the jump ball," said Spurrier. "We had been trying to get the jump ball thrown all day."

Mississippi State then moved to the South Carolina 32-yard line before Swearinger stepped in front of Russell's pass to halt the drive. Russell was pressured on the play by SEC sack leader Melvin Ingram, who is playing through a foot injury.

Shaw ran out of the back of the end zone as time expired to seal the final margin.

Game Notes

Garcia was dismissed from the team on Tuesday for not following guidelines set when he was reinstated to the team in August. He had been suspended in the spring for violating team rules...Entering the game, Lattimore led the SEC with 779 rushing yards...Ingram has 5 1/2 sacks on the season.