Shaw’s Record-Setting Day Leads Gamecocks Past Missouri, 31-10
COLUMBIA, S.C. — Junior
quarterback Connor Shaw threw for 249 yards and two touchdowns and
completed a school-record 20 consecutive passes to finish the game as
he led No. 7/8 South Carolina to a 31-10 victory over Missouri on
Saturday at Williams-Brice Stadium.
Shaw’s 20 consecutive completions are tied for the second most in SEC
history with Ole Miss’ Kent Austin, who had 20 straight against
Tennessee in 1982. Shaw’s completion percentage of 95.2 is also a
school record and ranks second in SEC history behind Tee Martin’s
(Tennessee) record of 95.8 (23-of-24), which came against South
Carolina in 1998.
With the victory, the Gamecocks (4-0, 2-0 SEC) extend their winning
streak to eight games dating back to last season, which is the second
longest in school history. The win is also South Carolina’s first-ever
over Missouri and its 10th straight against SEC Eastern Division
opponents. The Tigers fall to 2-2 on the season and 0-2 in SEC play.
The Gamecocks amassed 396 yards of total offense on Saturday, with 252
coming through the air and 144 on the ground. Junior running back
Marcus Lattimore rushed for 85 yards and two touchdowns, averaging four
yards per carry to lead the rushing attack. His first touchdown of the
afternoon, a 2-yard run early in the second quarter, moved him past
George Rogers (1977-80) and Harold Green (1986-1989) for first all-time
in career rushing touchdowns at South Carolina with 32. Shaw added 41
yards on 12 carries.
Lattimore also had a stellar day catching passes out of the backfield,
tallying seven receptions for 60 yards. Senior tight end Justice
Cunningham added four receptions for 41 yards, and junior receiver Ace
Sanders had a 23-yard touchdown reception.
Contributing to the Gamecocks’ dominant performance was their play on
special teams. Sanders returned six punts for 106 yards, including a
long of 49. Sophomore Bruce Ellington also had one kickoff return,
Carolina’s first of the season, for 50 yards.
Defensively, South Carolina held the Tigers to 255 yards of offense
(109 rushing, 146 passing). Senior linebacker Quin Smith led the way
with a season-high 10 tackles, and Devonte Holloman and Shaq Wilson
contributed seven stops each. Sophomore Jadeveon Clowney added four
tackles and 1.5 sacks.
Missouri quarterback James Franklin led the Tigers with 92 yards
passing, and running back Kendial Lawrence contributed 67 yards on the
ground. Linebacker Will Ebner tallied a game-high 14 tackles to carry
the Missouri defense.
Special teams played a key role in South Carolina’s strong finish to
the first half. After a scoreless first quarter, Sanders gave Carolina
a much-needed spark early in the second quarter with a lengthy punt
return as he weaved his way down the field and broke several tackles
for a 49-yard gain to the Missouri 4. Two plays later, Lattimore burst
into the end zone from 2 yards out, giving the Gamecocks a 7-0 lead
with 11:08 left in the half.
The Gamecock defense then forced a Missouri fumble on the ensuing
series, and senior defensive end Devin Taylor fell on the ball at the
Tiger 37. Shaw took advantage of the excellent field position as he
connected with Nick Jones for a 36-yard pass to the Missouri 1, setting
up a 1-yard touchdown run by Lattimore. Adam Yates knocked through the
extra point to give the Gamecocks a 14-0 advantage at the 10:14 mark of
the second quarter.
The Tigers put together their best possession of the half late in the
second quarter, driving 76 yards on 12 plays to the Carolina 4.
However, the Gamecock defense did not break as it held the Tigers to a
22-yard field goal by Andrew Baggett with 1:20 remaining.
Special teams came through once again for the Gamecocks on the ensuing
kickoff, as Ellington fielded the ball in the end zone and broke loose
for a 50-yard return, giving the offense a chance to score before the
half. Four plays later, Shaw found Sanders open down the sideline for a
23-yard touchdown pass, giving the Gamecocks a 21-3 lead heading into
the locker room.
The Gamecocks put the game out of reach late in the third quarter,
going on a 10-play, 47-yard scoring drive. Shaw capped the drive with a
13-yard touchdown pass to Rory Anderson, giving Carolina a 28-3 cushion.
Shaw remained in the game early in the fourth quarter and completed a
10-yard pass to Damiere Byrd on his final pass attempt of the day.