Missouri’s indoctrination into SEC play continued on Saturday as the South Carolina Gamecocks played their most complete game of the four so far in an impressive 31-10 victory that saw quarterback Connor Shaw complete 20 of 21 passes for 249 yards and two touchdowns.
Impressive was the fact that Shaw completed his last 20 passes in a row to set a Gamecocks record for consecutive completions in a game.
“He got off to a slow start,” quipped South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier, “He missed his first one I think. Missouri laid back in a Cover 2 zone. They didn’t blitz up front much at all.”
Shaw said that the Gamecocks thought Cover-2 might be a staple in the Tigers’ game plan as well. At the end of the day, Shaw was able to take advantage of the Missouri secondary in completing passes to seven different receivers.
“He has had a lot of great games so it’s hard to say that this was his best game, but it might have been,” noted running back Marcus Lattimore, who set the Gamecocks all-time record with rushing touchdowns with scores of 2 and 1 yards, about 57 seconds apart in the second frame, “He was 20 of 21. That’s unheard of in the SEC. “
Shaw, coming off a bruised shoulder injury, seemed to be his old self after an 80-yard run for a touchdown on the first play of the game’s third drive was called back on a controversial penalty that the official called a clip. Spurrier was told something different though by the officials.
“We had that 80-yard run by Connor taken away where he said the offensive tackle took the tackle inside the tackle box,” Spurrier said. “We thought you could do that but he (referee) said you could not.”
Missouri came in with a 2-1 record and featured a dynamic offense garnished with speed and athletes as well, but at the end of the day, it was the Gamecocks who flaunted their size, depth, and speed on both sides of the football.
DEFENSE IS A SPUR: South Carolina held Missouri to 258 yards on 55 plays. It also held the Tigers to 2 of 12 third down conversions and forced three quarterback sacks of talented quarterback James Franklin.
“I think you give their front six a lot of credit, because they are very talented,” Missouri coach Gary Pinkel said. “Obviously, we are very young, and overall, they won that battle. You get in third and long situations and that’s not the ideal situation to be in with that group up front for the Gamecocks.”
GAME BALLS TRENDING: Spurrier is not shy about giving out game balls after a big win. Offensive lineman A.J. Cann, receiver Ace Sanders, defensive ends Chaz Sutton and Devin Taylor, special teams coach Joe Robinson, and defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward were Saturday’s recipients.
Spurrier even had a game ball for the man who helped him get started in coaching, Georgia Tech legend Pepper Rodgers, who was on hand Saturday.
“My old coach, Pepper Rogers came to town this week,” Spurrier said. “He coached at Kansas and their biggest game was Missouri. Coach Rogers hired me in 1979 when I didn’t have a job, and he gave me a chance to coach.”