Shaw to start Saturday’s showdown with Missouri

The outcome of Saturday’s SEC showdown between South Carolina and Missouri may be riding on both teams’ starting quarterbck’s sore shoulders.

Gamecocks signal-caller Connor Shaw got the starting nod Saturday despite his injured right shoulder, and Missouri’s James Franklin plans to start despite sitting out last week with a bruised throwing shoulder.

“Connor threw the ball around well last night. He’ll start. He’s fine. If there’s a place for Dylan (Thompson, backup QB) to come in and help us beat Missouri,” South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier said, “(but) we’ll certainly consider that. No issue on who the starter is this week.

Shaw’s injury came in the season opener at Vanderbilt and he has been in and out of the lineup ever since. He left last week’s win over UAB after taking a hard shot to the shoulder, and he has a tendency to tuck the ball and run.

“The throw Connor made the other night against UAB, the strong safety came … we should have blocked that guy,” Spurrier said. “We had the protection called to block it but we didn’t execute which is bad coaching. Anyway, Connor stood and threw it, got hit hard and was out the game. That’s what quarterbacks have to do.

“There’s no question that running with the ball is what Connor does which makes him a good quarterback. If he plays, he’ll run some. If he can’t run I don’t’ think he’s quite as effective. We believe he’ll be able to run some.”

The Gamecocks have plenty of weapons to help out the QBs on offense, but the big concern is the defensive secondary. Defensive back D.J. Swearinger was suspended from the game following last week’s helmet-to-helmet hit on a defenseless UAB receiver, making the Gamecocks dangerously thin in the secondary.

That could be good news for Franklin if his throwing shoulder holds up to the Gamecocks’ pressure.

“Whether or not the Missouri quarterback starts or plays, there’s nothing we can do about that. I sort of expect him to play unless he’s really hurt,” Spurrier said. “Another ball game; another big one (in the SEC) Eastern Division. If we’ll have a chance to win the division, this is a crucial game for us.”

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