Connor Shaw did his best Willis Reed impression Saturday night, coming in cold off the bench with an injured knee and leading South Carolina to a season-saving comeback win over No. 5 Missouri on the road.
For his heroic effort, according to the SEC Digital Network, he has now been officially recognized as the conference's Offensive Player of the Week.
Nursing a knee sprain that was supposed to keep him out of the contest, Shaw implored Steve Spurrier to let him in midway through the third quarter with South Carolina trailing 17-0 and struggling to find any sort of offensive rhythm.
His entrance immediately altered the trajectory of the game, and he led the Gamecocks on three late-regulation scoring drives to force overtime.
He followed that up by delivering a picture-perfect strike to Bruce Ellington on 4th-and-goal from the 15-yard line in the first overtime period, again snatching victory from the jaws of defeat.
Shaw eventually finished with 201 yards and three touchdowns in limited action, and after Andrew Baggett doinked a field goal in the second overtime, he had effectively saved his team's chances of winning the SEC East.
Here are the other recognized players from Week 9:
- Defensive POW: S Landon Collins, Alabama
- Special Teams POW: K Elliott Fry, South Carolina
- Freshman POW: QB Jeremy Johnson, Auburn
- Offensive Line POW: OG Gabe Jackson, Mississippi State
- Defensive Line POW: DT Kelcy Quarles, South Carolina
Two of Shaw's teammates, Elliott Fry and Kelcy Quarles, were both also honored for their respective roles in the comeback.
The former hit a game-tying field goal in regulation before the eventual game-winner from 40 yards out in overtime, while the latter had six tackles (five solo), three tackles for loss and two sacks.
Jackson continued his strong season (and career) up the middle for Mississippi State, grading out at 91.5 percent with five knockdowns, according to the official release. He plays an un-sexy position at an un-sexy SEC program, so his achievements may go unrecognized, but Jackson has been one of the best college guards of this decade.
Johnson, who relieved injured starting quarterback Nick Marshall, made quick work of Florida Atlantic's defense, throwing a 36-yard touchdown pass to Sammie Coates on his first play from scrimmage. He finished the game 10-of-16 for 192 yards and two touchdowns, helping lead the Tigers to an easy rout.
Collins stepped into the starting lineup (again) to replace injured Alabama safety Vinnie Sunseri, and he didn't miss a beat. Sunseri had made a name for himself as the premier pick-six artist in college football, and Collins returned a Tennessee interception 89 yards for a game-icing touchdown with 12 seconds left in the first half.
The way Alabama recruits, "next man up" is rarely that big of a deal.
Congrats to all who were recognized!