Connor Shaw Puts Clamps on Starting Quarterback Job in South Carolina

Jacob ReynoldsContributor IISeptember 24, 2012

September 22, 2012; Columbia, SC, USA; South Carolina Gamecocks quarterback Connor Shaw (14) passes against the Missouri Tigers in the first quarter at Williams-Brice Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Blake-US PRESSWIRE

South Carolina quarterback Connor Shaw did more than enough in a 31-10 rout of Missouri this past Saturday to put to rest any question of who the Gamecocks’ starter should be.

Shaw, who has been dealing with a shoulder injury since the season opener, had a career day against the Tigers, completing 20 of 21 passes for 249 yards and 2 touchdowns.  He also notched 41 yards on the ground.

As good as his stat line was, perhaps the most impressive take-away from this game was the way in which he got those numbers.

He consistently took what the Tigers' defense gave him, which just so happened to be underneath routes to tight end Justice Cunningham (4 rec, 41 yds) along with running backs Marcus Lattimore (7 rec, 60 yds) and Kenny Miles (2 for 26 yds).

He also looked very decisive running the football, sliding to avoid contact and getting out of bounds to avoid contact throughout the game.

Amidst grumblings by the Gamecock faithful that Dylan Thompson should start against Missouri, Shaw began the game with mixed results.

The Gamecocks failed to put up any points for three straight offensive possessions to open the game.

Yet it was only a matter of time.

Shaw’s first pass of the game was incomplete. He then proceeded to pick apart the Missouri defense with 20 consecutive completions.

The scary thing is, it could have been better.

Shaw had an 80-plus yard touchdown run called back for clipping, and was also stopped just short of the goal line early in the first half.

After an apparent reluctance to stand in the pocket while facing pressure in his previous two appearances this season, Shaw’s efficiency was a spectacle to behold for fans and coach alike.

“He was sensational,” South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier said after the game. 

This is not so much an indictment of backup quarterback Dylan Thompson as it is an affirmation of what Gamecock fans should already know.

After Shaw’s less-than-stellar start to the 2012 campaign, fans seemed to forget his four touchdowns against bitter rival Clemson or his three scores against a good Nebraska team in the Capital One Bowl at the end of last season.

Perhaps the most telling and important statistic that should eliminate any talk of a quarterback controversy in South Carolina is Shaw’s 11-1 record as the starting quarterback.

After the performance that Shaw just had against Missouri, it’s safe to say that Gamecock fans can feel confident in No. 14 leading their offense for the remainder of the year.