University of South Carolina backup quarterback Dylan Thompson will start this Saturday’s SEC road game against fifth-ranked Missouri, USC head coach Steve Spurrier announced this week.
The game is a must-win for No. 21 South Carolina (5-2, 3-2 SEC) if the Gamecock hopes to keep their SEC East championship hopes alive.
Thompson – a 6-foot-3, 218-pound junior from Boiling Springs, S.C. – has completed 29 of 51 passes for 421 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions this season playing behind senior signal caller Connor Shaw.
“Dylan’s a good player,” said South Carolina quarterbacks coach G.A. Mangus. “He’ll get his chance to go this week. He’s practiced good the last couple of days, but he always does. Dylan gets himself ready like he’s a starter, that’s why I don’t worry about Dylan. He’ll be ready to roll.”
“Missouri has a great defense. They’re really talented,” Thompson said. “We’re looking forward to the opportunity to go in there and looking forward to that challenge. We’ve done it before. I’m really excited about the game and about our team this week. We’ve really prepared well and we’re looking forward to the challenge. This is the biggest game we’ve played yet. Coach does a good job of making it about the next game and right now Missouri is the next game. That’s what we’re going to focus on. That’s what we’ve been working for all this week.”
Shaw may play against Missouri – which lost its starting quarterback James Franklin to a separated shoulder two weeks ago.
“You never know. We’ll see,” Mangus said of Shaw. “He’s getting better every day … we’ll just have to see how the next few days go.”
Thompson has won both of his career starts – a blowout win over East Carolina at home last season and a hard-fought win on the road over then-No. 11 Clemson. His most extensive action this year came on the road against Central Florida after Shaw went down with a shoulder injury.
Saturday’s game will kickoff at 7:00 p.m. EDT from Faurot Field in Columbia, Missouri. ESPN2 will televise the game nationally with Joe Tessitore, Matt Millen and Maria Taylor calling the action.