The defenses tightened up in the second period, with neither offense enjoying much success. South Carolina, for example, failed to score any points despite getting a first-and-goal from the Nebraska seven-yard line. Jay Wooten missed a 20-yard field goal attempt on the drive.
Nebraska appeared to be in great shape on its ensuing drive, getting as far as the South Carolina 30-yard line before Taylor Martinez threw an interception to Stephon Gilmore, the South Carolina defensive back who returned a blocked point-after attempt for a defensive conversion in the first quarter.
Martinez's interception proved costly for the 'Huskers. With six seconds remaining in the half, Gamecocks quarterback Connor Shaw heaved a hail mary pass deep down the right side of the field, and 6-foot-4 receiver Alshon Jefferey snagged it for a touchdown. Jefferey made the catch at the three-yard line, turned, and leapt into the endzone to end the half. Wooten converted the extra point for the 16-13 halftime margin.