COLUMBIA, S.C. -- - Spencer Rattler went 18-of-20 passing for 288 yards and three touchdowns to lead South Carolina to a 37-30 win over Mississippi State on Saturday night.
South Carolina tried to establish the ground game - the Gamecocks attempted 47 rushes - but when they needed something, they turned to Rattler, the Oklahoma transfer who in his past seven games has finally shown why he was once one of the Sooners most highly touted recruits.
Rattler also ran eight times for 43 yards. Mario Anderson was the Gamecocks' leading rusher with 88 yards on 26 carries,
After three weeks of pounding the ball on the ground with inconsistent results, Mississippi State (2-2, 0-2) returned to the kind of Air Raid passing attack the Bulldogs used under coach Mike Leach, who died in December.
Will Rogers threw for a career best 487 yards on 30-of-48 passing with a touchdown and an interception. The senior vaulted from sixth to third on the SEC all-time passing list with 11,668 yards, passing Peyton Manning of Tennessee, Chris Leak of Florida and David Greene of Georgia.
But Rogers had an interception in the red zone and a fumble in a game where both defenses struggled to get stops. South Carolina had 99- and a 98-yard touchdown drives to open the game.
Mississippi State: The loss put the Bulldogs in a hole in the SEC. They will need to find two SEC wins somewhere to continue their streak of 13 straight seasons going to a bowl. Maybe getting back to passing is the answer? Mississippi State gained 519 yards, by far their best against a Football Bowl Subdivision team this season.
South Carolina: The Gamecocks needed a win in a tough September and got it. With Clemson left on the non-conference schedule, South Carolina could need four SEC wins to get to a bowl. And if Rattler continues to play at this high of a level, that is well in reach.
Mississippi State: The Bulldogs host No. 13 Alabama next Saturday night.
South Carolina: The Gamecocks are at No, 23 Tennessee next Saturday night.