Published August 30, 2012 - 11:42pm
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Okay, so maybe Connor Shaw didn’t have the kind of night Marcus Lattimore had statically, but you can’t discount Shaw’s toughness and heart throughout the game. He hurt his shoulder late in the second quarter, received treatment at halftime, missed the first few series of the second half and came back in the game to lead his team to victory.
The Gamecocks rode Lattimore and Shaw to take the first Thursday Down South 17-13 in very unimpressive fashion.
Lattimore may have scored two touchdowns, but Shaw is the real reason the Gamecocks pulled out the victory on the road. Let’s be honest. Without Shaw converting several key plays on the game-winning drive, this would have been a different ball game. Shaw sacrificed his body for the better of the team and for a victory.
And you shouldn’t be so surprised about it either, because he did it last season as well. He just wins and improves to 9-1 as a starter. Enough said.
The game was pretty ugly throughout, as both teams combined for three turnovers and converted only six of 27 (.220) on third downs. But Carolina just closed stronger in the fourth quarter behind Shaw and Lattimore.
How horrible was the PI no-call? Unfortunately, this game might be remembered more for the no-call on the last drive late in the fourth quarter for Vanderbilt than anything. Director of officials Steve Shaw won’t be happy with that one.
Carolina OLine and secondary concerns: South Carolina’s offensive line and defensive secondary are the two main concerns exiting game one. Both need to get better before East Carolina next week.
Marcus Lattimore is back: He ran for 109 yards on 23 carries and scored two touchdowns, picking up right where he left off last year before his knee injury. He did fumble on his first carry, but that was just first-game jitters. I’m not worried about that at all, or the fact he may have looked a little slower than normal.
Shaw gets it done: He only threw for 67 yards, but he carried 14 times for 92 yards with a banged up shoulder. Shaw was in and out of the lineup all night, and he earned some respect from the gang at SDS and probably from around the SEC, too.
Vanderbilt has to find a way to close: The Commodores very much out-played USC for much of the night, and they had a chance to drive for the game winning-score at the end of the game with 5:08 left. However, after a controversial pass interference no-call, the Commodores were forced to turn the ball over on downs. This team just needs to find a way to close and win a game. They let this one slip away. I like the direction this program is headed, though.
Marcus Lattimore – 23 carries for 109 yards and two TDs
Connor Shaw – 14 carries for 92 yards
Jordan Rodgers – 13 of 23 for 214 yards and one TD and one INT
Jordan Matthews – caught eight passes for 147 yards and one TD
Highlight videos coming tomorrow.