Shaw’s heroic performance puts him in hardware hunt

South Carolina quarterback Connor Shaw’a comeback performance against Missouri earned him SEC Offensive Player of the Week and the O’Brien QB of the Week award honors. Now many are wondering if the indestructable senior should be a candidate for QB of the year in the SEC and other national awards.

Yes, over Johnny “Football” Manziel at Texas A&M, A.J. McCarron at Alabama and Aaron Murray at Georgia. Shaw may not have the biggest numbers in the conference — though they aren’t all that bad — but he deserves consideration for all-SEC honors at quarterback for his heart alone.

Not expected to play because of the knee injury he sustained in the loss to Tennessee the week before, Shaw relieved junior Dylan Thompson in the second half and rallied the Gamecocks to a 27-24 overtime victory over Missouri Saturday night.

Entering the game with his team down 17-0 in the third quarter, Shaw completed 20 of his 29 passes for 222 yards and three touchdowns, including a big 15-yarder for a touchdown on fourth-and-goal in overtime.

“I went over and asked him if he could play and he said sure,” coach Steve Spurrier said. “I said we had to make the move now.

“Dylan was just a little off here and there. I thought he had a few guys open and he zinged them out, but he threw some good balls.

“It just wasn’t his night and Connor gave us a little sharpness in there.”

Shaw now has 14 touchdown passes against one interception for the season and has completed 64.4 percent of his attempts. He was injured late in the loss to Tennessee and also missed time earlier this season.

Getting past the first hit he got from Missouri’s defense was the key, Shaw said.

“I was grateful,” he said. “I wasn’t even supposed to be playing in this game. They said I was supposed to be out two-three weeks. I am thankful to be able to play in this game.”

With the win, the Gamecocks loosened the Tigers’ grip on the SEC Eastern Division race.

Though still in first place in the division with a 3-1 league mark, the Tigers saw their margin for error cut considerably.

The Gamecocks remained in contention with 4-2 SEC mark. They have Mississippi State and Florida yet to play in the conference and get both at home.

The Gamecocks now hold the tiebreaker over the Tigers if those two teams end up tied for the Eastern Division title.

Also joining Shaw on the honors roll were Gamecocks jJunior defensive tackle Kelcy Quarles as selected as the SEC Defensive Lineman of the Week, and true freshman placekicker Elliott Fry was selected as the SEC Special Teams Player of the Week.

The No. 14/16 Gamecocks (6-2, 4-2 SEC) will be back in action on Saturday, November 2, when they host the Mississippi State Bulldogs (4-3, 1-2 SEC). Game time is set for 12:21 p.m.

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