COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) _ Blake Mitchell passed for a career-high 388 yards and four touchdowns and South Carolina became bowl-eligible for the second straight year under Steve Spurrier with a 52-7 victory over Middle Tennessee today.
Mitchell continued his strong play since regaining his starting spot a week ago as the Gamecocks broke a three-game losing streak.
His 15-yard T-D pass to Andy Boyd put South Carolina ahead for good at 14-7. Then Mitchell connected with his favorite target, Sidney Rice, on scoring throws of 37 and 27 yards that put the Gamecocks up 28-7 at halftime.
Mitchell’s final touchdown pass was a 19-yard toss to Cory Boyd in the third quarter.
Middle Tennessee entered with a four-game win streak and motivation for a good showing. Coach Rick Stockstill was Spurrier’s recruiting coordinator a year ago.
The Blue Raiders quickly scored when Desmond Gee caught a 73-yard touchdown pass from Clint Marks on the game’s first play. The momentum did –NOT– last.
The Blue Raiders big game comes next week when they take on Troy. A win would give them the Sun Belt Conference championship and a berth in the New Orleans Bowl.