Larry Rountree III second-leading rusher

Running back Larry Rountree III runs off after a play during Missouri’s game against South Carolina on Saturday in Columbia, S.C. Rountree became second-leading rusher in MU history after an 11-yard run in the second quarter.

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Missouri running back Larry Rountree became the program’s second-leading rusher Saturday. After an 11-yard run in the second quarter, Rountree passed running back Zack Abron’s career total of 3,198 yards and is the leading rusher for running backs in school history.

“I still don’t believe it, you know, it is just weird,” Rountree said. “I would say though, you know, I wouldn’t have got any of those yards without the past offensive linemen.”

“You’re nothing without your line. I thank my current O-linemen and all the linemen since I got here.”

Rountree’s career total is behind only quarterback Brad Smith’s total of 4,139 yards and Rountree is unlikely to pass that mark with only five games and a possible bowl game left in the season.

Badie shows versatility during offense’s impressive first half

Missouri’s offense was dormant in the second half, but its 17 points in the first half were enough for a victory over an undermanned Gamecocks defense. The most potent weapon in the impressive first half was running back Tyler Badie, who had a team-high 77 total yards on 10 touches.

Badie caught a 28-yard pass from Connor Bazelak to set up Rountree’s 1-yard score in the second quarter and caught a short pass to set up a Harrison Mevis field goal as time expired in the first half.

Maclin gets first career catch as young players earn snaps

Freshman slot receiver Jay Maclin got some snaps for the first time this season and caught his first career pass, a five-yard grab late in the second quarter.

Maclin, the cousin of Tiger legend Jeremy Maclin, played on special teams and wasn’t listed on the team’s depth chart on Tuesday.

Maclin wasn’t the only player to get their first meaningful snaps this season. Freshman Elijah Young got some snaps in the first quarter and nearly ran for a touchdown on Missouri’s second scoring drive. Walk-on Cannon York also played snaps on the defensive line.

Missouri defensive coordinator Walters out for South Carolina game because of COVID contact

Missouri defensive coordinator Ryan Walters was unavailable for the team’s game at South Carolina on Saturday because he was contact-traced and is in quarantine.

Defensive backs coach David Gibbs replaced Walters as defensive coordinator. Defensive quality control/analyst Grant O’Brien was the team’s 10th assistant.

The Tigers were without 11 players after multiple positive tests and quarantines due to contact tracing. Players unavailable were: wideout Javian Hester, quarterback Shawn Robinson, defensive back Adam Sparks, defensive lineman Markell Utsey, offensive lineman Dylan Spencer, outside linebacker Sci Martin Jr., defensive back Ishmael Burdine, defensive lineman Keion Willis, outside linebacker Johnny Walker, wideout D’ionte Smith and defensive back Stacy Brown.

A team spokesperson told the Missourian that 56 scholarship players made the trip, but defensive lineman Kobie Whiteside, offensive lineman Larry Borom and offensive lineman Xavier Delgadodidn’t play after the team said they would only be used in an emergency while they recover from injury. Drinkwitz said 52 scholarship players were available after the game, one under the SEC’s threshold. Teams can still elect to play, like Missouri did, and go through with a game if they are under the threshold.

Utsey and Spencer were both suspended for the first half of the game because of their role in a halftime brawl against Florida on Oct. 31. Those suspensions were still be served Saturday. Linebacker Chad Bailey was the other player suspended, but he was active and played the whole game Saturday. He will serve his suspension at a later date.

Spencer and Utsey were both listed as starters on the team’s Tuesday depth chart while Robinson, Sparks and Brown were listed as backups.

Punter McKinniss key in field position battle

Graduate transfer punter Grant McKinniss had arguably his best game in a Missouri uniform Saturday with seven punts for 305 yards. McKinniss had two punts over 50 yards and pinned South Carolina behind its own 20-yard line five times, including pinning the Gamecocks at their own 1-yard line twice.

The Gamecocks best starting field position was at their own 27, which didn’t do them any favors in a game where points were at a premium.

“All game (it) was a field position battle and we could never get it flipped,” South Carolina interim coach Mike Bobo said. “They were on the plus side the entire game.”

Bazelak and offense struggle against undermanned defense

Connor Bazelak had another inconsistent performance after having a turnover in Missouri’s loss to Florida on Oct. 31. Bazelak had 203 yards, a touchdown and an interception and lead an offense that punted on every possesion in the second half.

“I hadn’t watched the tape, but as soon as I do, I’ll be critical,” Drinkwitz said.

Bazelak’s intercepted pass in the red zone kept the Gamecocks in the game. Missouri could have gotten another score and bumped its lead to as much as 20 at halftime. Instead, the underthrown pass intended for Tauskie Dove was picked off at the 3-yard line and wasted a red zone possession.

“You can’t throw an interception in the red zone,” Drinkwitz said. “Underthrow the ball on the 23-yard line and you threw it to the two. I mean that’s a pretty terrible throw.”

This article originally ran on columbiamissourian.com.

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