South Carolina's Sidney Rice can't hold on to the ball
South Carolina's Casper Brinkley sacks Kevin Kolb
South Carolina quarterback Blake Mitchell
MEMPHIS, Tenn. - South Carolina's offense provided the fireworks in the first half and the defense stepped up in the second half as the Gamecocks beat Houston 44-to-36 today in the Liberty Bowl.
Blake Mitchell tied a bowl record by throwing four touchdown passes and Cory Boyd ran for two more T-Ds as the Gamecocks finished coach Steve Spurrier's second season at 8-and-5 - their best record since going 9-and-3 in 2001.
Houston led 28-27 at the half, but South Carolina held the Cougars to 63 yards in the third quarter when the Gamecocks took control.
South Carolina defensive end Jordin Lindsey recovered two turnovers, while the defense sacked Cougars quarterback Kevin Kolb three times and stopped Houston twice on fourth down in the fourth quarter.
The Gamecocks finished the season with three straight wins for the first time since 1973.