NOTEBOOK: Lightning strikes twice in South Carolina's bizarre win over Missouri

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COLUMBIA, S.C. — Players or coaches, Tigers or Gamecocks, it didn’t matter. Just about everyone involved said South Carolina’s 37-35 win on Saturday was one of the most bizarre games in which they’ve ever participated.

Clear skies became a torrential downpour, sideline headsets stopped working for a few minutes and scattered lightning resulted in a 76-minute weather delay with under three minutes to play.

Oh, and the game clock went dark for over a quarter of action.

“They left the door open at halftime,” South Carolina head coach Will Muschamp said. “When you leave the door open at halftime, rain gets in there, doesn’t it? And that’s not real good for electronics. I mean, I’m not an electrician, but I do know that.”

Missouri head coach Barry Odom checked the forecast Saturday, knowing that dealing with unexpected obstacles is simply part of coaching.Running back Damarea Crockett excelled on the ground largely because he took to the slippery footing better than the other team’s defenders did.

“I’ve never played in anything like that (since) probably third grade,” the junior said. “That’s definitely the most adversity weather-wise that I’ve played in.”

Tigers run strong

With wideouts Emanuel Hall and Nate Brown back in Columbia, Missouri, due to injury and the Tigers struggling to find consistency in the passing game, Missouri once again leaned on its running backs in Saturday’s loss. It paid off, as the Tigers’ trio of Crockett, Larry Rountree III and Tyler Badie rushed for a combined 289 yards and three touchdowns to fuel the offense.

Tigers’ fans caught a glimpse of a Crockett they haven’t seen since 2016 as the junior from Little Rock, Arkansas, broke out for 154 yards and a touchdown in the loss. Saddled by injuries in 2017, the former 1,000-yard rusher had struggled to find his footing in the early going this fall. On Saturday, it appeared he was back to form.

Rountree and Badie remained consistent for the Tigers as well. Rountree brought the power on the ground, rushing for 90 yards on the afternoon, including a 41-yard run in the third quarter. Badie’s versatility as a runner and a pass catcher was once again on display, as the true freshman picked up 70 all-purpose yards.

The success of Missouri’s running game will continue to be an imperative, especially as question marks surround the health of Missouri’s receiving corps. The runners are happy to pick up the slack, and know just how big an impact they can have.

“We have to be on. When we do our job, everything else falls into place,” Rountree said. “We have to be on.”

Injury report

Brown and Hall were the two most notable Tigers to stay home Saturday, both dealing with nagging groin injuries. They are both considered day-to-day, going forward.

Defensive lineman Rashad Brandon suffered a hip injury in Saturday’s game, and was joined on the sideline by freshman wideout Dominic Gicinto (ankle) and defensive end Nate Anderson (lower leg). The severity of each injury is unknown.

Odom said post-game that left guard Kevin Pendleton, who appeared to suffer an ankle injury, could have returned to Saturday’s game but did not.

Supervising editor is Michael Knisley.

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