STARKVILLE, Mississippi (Ticker) -- Having arrived just eight hours earlier, South Carolina looked tired. By the end of the game, it was Mississippi State which was worn out.
The 20th-ranked Gamecocks recovered quickly and used powerful running by Andrew Pinnock and Corey Jenkins to defeat the No. 16 Bulldogs, 16-14.
The nationally televised Southeastern Conference showdown marked the return of major college football. Every Division I-A game last weekend was postponed in the wake of the terrorist attacks on America nine days ago.
In addition to heightened concerns regarding air travel, South Carolina arrived at approximately noon EDT after its scheduled Wednesday night flight was scuttled when the plane was found to have mechanical problems.
The Gamecocks (3-0, 2-0 SEC East) looked disorganized as the Bulldogs (1-1, 0-1 West) marched 67 yards in 12 plays following the opening kickoff. Workhorse Dicenzo Miller accounted for 46 receiving yards and 25 more on the ground before Dontae Walker banged in from the 2.
"We didn't arrive by airplane until noon today and I think that affected us the first seven, eight minutes," Gamecocks coach Lou Holtz said. "We hung in there."
However, SC shut down Miller thereafter and unleashed its own ground attack.
Pinnock had 97 yards on 12 carries, including a 35-yard sprint for a touchdown that tied the game late in the first quarter.
Jenkins had 75 yards on 11 carries -- all on a third-quarter drive that resulted in Daniel Weaver's third field goal, a 28-yarder that gave SC a 16-7 lead.
"That drive with Jenkins was critical," Holtz said. "Skip (offensive coordinator Skip Holtz) and I talked about putting him in on the second drive but decided against it. ... That drive got us up by nine points and allowed us to be more conservative."
There was tight security at Davis Wade Stadium and a no-fly zone above it. On Scott Field, a huge American flag was unfurled. In the stands, 15 fans painted their upper bodies red, white and blue with "God Bless America" in contrasting lettering.
"I think it was important for America to see a football game because football is America's sport," Holtz said. "It is not played anywhere else in the world. They got to see a good, competitive game tonight."
South Carolina amassed 238 yards on the ground. Phil Petty threw just 14 passes, completing seven for 60 yards.
Wayne Madkin was 27-of-46 for 261 yards and a touchdown for the Bulldogs. Miller had 31 yards on 11 carries and 64 on four catches.
"(Miller) suffered a high ankle sprain early in the game and he played with it most of the game," said Mississippi State coach Jackie Sherrill, whosde team lost at home for just the second time in its last 19 games. "It's one of those injuries that can take a long time to get over."
Walker, who had 50 yards on 10 carries, fumbled after a catch and Carolina's John Stamper recovered at the State 43. Three plays later, Pinnock went off right tackle for 35 yards and the tying score.
Corey Alexander had a 27-yard run to set up Weaver's 35-yard field goal that gave the Gamecocks the lead for good 32 seconds into the second period.
Early in the third quarter, Andre Goodman picked off Madkin -- his first interception in 121 attempts -- and returned it 13 yards to the MSU 18. The Bulldogs stiffened and Weaver booted a 25-yarder for a 13-7 lead.
With 37 seconds left, Madkin threw a seven-yard TD pass to Harold Lindsey. But Brian Scott recovered the ensuing onside kick and South Carolina ran out the clock.