Connor Shaw Cements South Carolina Legacy in Capital One Bowl

Charles BennettContributor IJanuary 1, 2014

Connor Shaw (No. 14) finished his career on a high note for South Carolina.
Connor Shaw (No. 14) finished his career on a high note for South Carolina.Scott Halleran/Getty Images

So many times over the last three years, South Carolina has won football games largely because of the efforts of quarterback Connor Shaw.

Thus, it was only appropriate that Shaw conclude his college career with a virtuoso performance that not only won yet another game for the Gamecocks, but also sealed his status as the greatest quarterback in school history.

In his final college game, Shaw completed 22 of 25 passes for 312 yards and three touchdowns, rushed 16 times for 47 yards and a touchdown and caught a nine-yard touchdown pass in South Carolina's 34-24 Capital One Bowl victory over Wisconsin.

It was an absolute slam dunk that he earned Capital One Bowl MVP honors.

He ends his career with a record of 27-5 as South Carolina's starting quarterback, the most victories and by far the best winning percentage in school history among quarterbacks who have won at least 20 games.

However, listing his career statistics is an almost mind-numbing enterprise that, in fact, does him a grave disservice because it limits the scope of his accomplishments.

Shaw's legacy transcends statistics. More impressive than the numbers is the manner in which he produced themlike playing on a bad knee and throwing three touchdown passes in a comeback victory over Missouri earlier this season.

Then, there are simply intangible, hard to describe moments in a game where Shaw shows his magica timely scramble for first-down yardage or a seemingly impossible completion on fourth down.

He is a playmaker with an uncanny instinct for improvisation, like the play against Wisconsin where he dropped back, took off as if he was running and lobbed the ball at the last second over the heads of defenders to a wide-open Jerell Adams for a critical first down.

Like a true maestro, Shaw has the uncanny ability of lifting up those around him, making them better and orchestrating a team effort that is nearly impossible to stop.

Those around him rise to the occasionlike receivers Bruce Ellington and Shaq Roland did against the Badgers.

Bruce Ellington came up big for the Gamecocks against Wisconsin.
Bruce Ellington came up big for the Gamecocks against Wisconsin.Scott Halleran/Getty Images

Ellington caught six passes for a career-high 140 yards, and Roland caught a career-high six for 112. Each receiver had at least two receptions where Shaw threw the ball where only they could catch it.

And they did.

Not only that, but Ellington also threw the touchdown pass to Shaw off a reversea bit of trickery from South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier.

Not surprisingly, Shaw, a perfectionist at quarterback, ran a perfect route and caught a perfect pass from Ellington.

For his entire career, Shaw has been an overlooked talent, playing in the shadow of more heralded teammates like former Gamecock running back Marcus Lattimore and All-American defensive end Jadeveon Clowney.

It was nice to see Shaw end his career with an effort that the entire college football world couldn't help but notice.

There may be more to come from Connor Shaw.

Some NFL team will give him a shot, if nothing more than as a training camp arm.

Don't be surprised if Shaw works his magic and turns it into more.

After what he has accomplished, only a fool would bet against him.