What Happened To You On Saturday: Week 9

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The #1 Monday morning recap article for SEC Fans… Pulling no punches as we recap a weekend of SEC football action…

Connor Shaw: American Hero

Connor Shaw walked up to Steve Spurrier, with his team trailing 17-0 with under seven minutes remaining in the third quarter, and said, “Coach, I’m only at 66 percent, but that’s still better than a healthy Dylan Thompson.”  Well, not in those exact words, but basically.  Spurrier went with instinct and let the fragile footballer try to save the Gamecocks’ season.  Oh, and he did.

Shaw is a very good quarterback and the most enjoyable to watch (Non-Manziel Division) in the conference.  The problem is his bones are hollow and his joints are held together with yarn and old Juicy Fruit.  He’s listed at 6-1 209, but in reality, he is closer to 4-9 77 lbs.  The breakdown of those 77 pounds: 41 pounds of heart, 30 pounds of testicles, and the remaining 6 is the aforementioned hollow bones.  He’s completely hairless.  But when he’s physically able to play, he’s everything fans love about college football.  On Saturday night with the season on the line, Connor Shaw was the best he’s ever been.

Perseverance was the theme of the day for South Carolina.  The Gamecocks moved the ball well throughout the first half, but fumbles from their sensational young running back, Mike Davis — one actually as he was going into the end zone — left the Gamecocks scoreless in the first half.  Spurrier knew how much he’d need Davis and never wavered.  While Missouri was doing Missouri things (96 yard touchdown passes, etc…) South Carolina stayed focused on the road and didn’t let this turn into a blowout, giving up only three points in the second half.

This game will be remembered for one play, though.  After Missouri quickly scored a touchdown on the first possession in overtime, South Carolina faced 4th and goal from the 15-yard line.  Shaw took the shotgun snap with the season, and perhaps Steve Spurrier’s final chance at winning an SEC Championship with the Gamecocks on the line, and hit Bruce Ellington for the huge touchdown.  That play kept the game going and the following South Carolina field goal kept the pressure on Missouri, and that pressure ended up being the difference in the game.

It was great win for South Carolina on the road, and it was a career defining moment for Connor Shaw.

Related: 9 biggest takeaways from Saturday

Missouri Choked

But as good as Connor Shaw was, South Carolina shouldn’t have won this game.  Andrew Baggett’s kick that clanked off the upright shouldn’t have happened because there shouldn’t have been an overtime.  Sure, Missouri was fortunate to find themselves up 17-0, but that’s where they were, up 17-0 in the fourth quarter at home and they lost.  Maty Mauk was 4-12 in the second half.  L’Damian Washington had a 96-yard touchdown catch before halftime.  It was an incredible play.  It would be his only catch of the game.  Dorial Green-Beckham had one catch for six yards.  Two catches for those two receivers is criminal.  It was as if Gary Pinkel got to 17 points and said, “Alright, guys, that’s enough scoring for one night.  We’re good.”  I mean, Missouri got the ball back with :43 left in the fourth with two time outs and let the clock run out, happy to get into overtime.  What?  You don’t try anything, Gary?  Don’t want to lob something up to your freak show wide receivers?  Missouri squandered an amazing opportunity.   It was a bad loss.

What does this mean for Missouri?  The Tigers had the SEC locked up and now find themselves needing wins at Mississippi and at home against Texas A&M if they want the chance to likely play #1 Alabama in Atlanta.  That’s a tall order.  Are they good enough to do it?  It’s hard to say.  Going into the South Carolina game I believed Missouri was still very unproven and their undefeated record had a lot to do with playing very bad teams and very injured teams.  After seeing the difference Connor Shaw’s presence made in a quarter and change, I still believe that’s the case.

Related: South Carolina-Missouri highlights

Alabama Pounds Tennessee

“For their head coach to come out and say they can play against anybody, I don’t think we’re just anybody… We won two national championships in a row and we’re undefeated right now. So we’re not just anybody.” – A.J. McCarron

Translation 1: “Settle down, Butch Jones.  You still have a looooooooooong way to go.”

Translation 2: “We are trying to avoid pulling a South Carolina and are pretending to be offended by everyday coach speak.”

Alabama looked like, well, the best team in the country on Saturday.  They totally dominated a Tennessee team that was coming off their biggest win in years.  T.J. Yeldon had three touchdowns, McCarron threw for 275 and two touchdowns.  Kevin Norwood and Amari Cooper looked like pros. Alabama’s offense looked scary balanced.

How is Alabama’s defense?  Well they’ve held their last six opponents to 26 total points.  Yeah.  It should be noted that five of those six opponents are pathetically awful football teams, but it’s still pretty impressive.  Vinnie Sunseri was gone this week and the rest of the weeks after tearing his ACL in their 52-0 win over Arkansas.  No worries.  His replacement, Landon Collins returned an interception 89 yards for a touchdown.

They now have a bye week to recuperate from playing all these cupcakes before playing the biggest game of their regular season against LSU.  In all seriousness, this game is still huge.  Despite LSU’s bad loss to Ole Miss last week, they are very dangerous and are likely Alabama’s toughest matchup this season.

Related: Biggest takeaways from Alabama’s blowout win

Texas A&M Bounces Back Against Vandy

Johnny Football won’t let an injury slow him down.  Three hundred and five yards and four touchdowns is basically what we’ve come to expect from Manziel.  Two touchdowns are also what we’ve come to expect from future millionaire Mike Evans.  Texas A&M jumped all over the Austyn Carta-Samuels-less Commodores 21-0 and never looked back.

A&M might not be playing for the SEC West but Manziel is still playing for his second Heisman.  He might be a little caught up in Jameis Winston’s wake right now, but Johnny Football still has big games against LSU and Missouri.  I’m telling you, it could still happen.

I enjoyed watching the SEC’s two best wide receivers square off.  Neither had their best games of the season, but Jordan Matthews and Mike Evans have delivered every week and have been a lot of fun to watch.

Plays that Mattered

Given his medical ailments, Connor Shaw probably should be living in a bubble, not converting 4th and goal from the 15 yard line with the season on the line (:54 second mark).

Amari Cooper gets half of a block, and that’s all he needs to run past the entire Tennessee defense.

What they Meant to Say

“I didn’t think he (Connor Shaw) was going to be able to go.  His leg literally fell off his body last week.  It wasn’t even during the game, just walking to class and his leg fell off.  He’s… flimsy.” – Steve Spurrier, Head Coach, University of South Carolina

“You don’t know what it’s like to have to get these kids motivated.  Pretty much everyone on this team has multiple rings, and we keep playing bad teams.  I have to tell McCarron that Butch Jones is disrespecting our team just to keep him from cutting himself just so he can feel.” – Nick Saban, Head Coach, University of Alabama

“Did you buy it? The whole injury thing? We totally made it up.  Yeah, Johnny and I flew up to New York this offseason and popped some bottles in the club with Paul Pierce and he broke down the perfect way to play up the injury and how coming back and balling really helps develop your brand.  We didn’t expect to lose to Auburn, though.  That really backfired.”  - Uncle Nate, Man Servant to Johnny Manziel

“I guess we can’t catch every break this season.” – Gary Pinkel, Head Coach, University of Missouri

COMMENTS

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  • Has the gap between Tennessee and Bama ever been wider? I thought we’d give them a game. I was way wrong.

  • Aj Mccarron is such a little girl, he gets knocked off his feet and wants a penalty, he will turn out like every other bama qb and never make it in the NFL.

    • LOL!! Yeah, that will really overshadow an outstanding college football career with an UNPRECEDENTED 3 BCSNC rings and going for a 4th! The refs call the penalties, not the players. You think AJ is the only player who look to the refs to see if they saw what happened? Your hatred and/or jealousy is pitiful and whether a player makes in the pros or not doesn’t take away from what they accomplished in college. You’re pathetic.

    • Few Quarterbacks from any team make it in the NFL. If you look at history, Alabama has two Quarterbacks in the NFL Hall of Fame, and a third that won a Superbowl.

    • I don’t think that was the referee he was getting in the face of.

    • “He will turn out like every other bama qb and never make it in the NFL.”

      Uh… I take it you’re forgetting that the MVPs of the first three Super Bowls were all, you guessed it, Bama QBs?

  • Missouri is going to really have to collapse to lose against Ole Miss and A&M. I actually think the loss brings them back down to earth and takes some pressure off, so they might easily dismantle Ole Miss and win a shootout against A&M by a score of 77-70. Then again, they might pull a Georgia (without the number of injuries) and lose 2 games they had no business losing after winning a couple of impressive games.

    • I wouldn’t necessarily say it brings them back to earth…I do think that it did some eye opening to reality that it’s just plain NOT going to be easy. Besides, this was the third game in a punishing three game stretch. They still have a long way to go but if I remember correctly Franklin is supposed to be out 3-5 weeks. Next up is Tennessee…I don’t see Worley playing with an injured throwing hand…Kentucky…well, they’re Kentucky. Franklin should be back for the Ole’ Miss and Texas A&M game. I think they still have the line to the SECCG…SoCar still has a couple league games and with their inconsistent play even Miss State could surprise them.

    • Luckily for us, we have a great record at home over the past few years and we have the rest of our season at Williams-Brice.

    • Ole Miss and A&M are both darn pretty solid. I think they go 1-and-1. I really can’t see them scoring enough to hang with A&M. If not for he SC turnovers and the awesome 94-yd pass play, their offense looked pretty mediocre.

    • Can I make a friendly amendment to what you wrote. Anything that shows Missouri’s coaching staff what they not prepared for is a good thing as long as they stay a step ahead of the next team. They have to get a kicking coach, a pass defense coach, and a consistent blocking for rushes coach.

        • one more entry in the humor column, If Eddie Printz (best passer on the roster) only plays three years instead of four. Is that the end of the world, what, Missouri with it’s string of pro quarterbacks can’t recruit another good quarterback??? For heaven’s sake, let Mauk run with the ball and beat South Carolina. That was the most cowardly coaching job I’ve ever seen, AND I SAY THAT AS A FOLLOWER WHO REALLY LIKES THE PINKEL STAFF ON A LOT PROGRAM ASPECTS

  • The Mizzou loss was devastating, but hardly shocking. As Mizzou fans we are so used to this kind of thing. Same thing happened at the 2004 Homecoming, albeit without as much on the line. Got to a number one ranking in 2007 just to turn around and lose it the next week in the Big 12 Championship game. As Les Carpenter put it “The reason Missouri built such a fine journalism school is that it needed great writers to tell the story of heartbreak.”

  • Flew back yesterday to Charlotte. Met a lot of great Gamecock fans, at the game and on the plane. Conner Shaw is a stud. Mizzou still controlled the line of scrimmage and was still putting licks on him. They come up with a secret play called the screen pass?Do we win with Franklin? Think so. But We had this game and blew it. Maty was not good, the coaching staff went way too conservative. The author was exactly right at the end of the half we did nothing. We had injuries in the secondary, granted, but a blown coverage on 4th and 15 in OT.? We had the weapons, the crowd was unbelievable. We hold Davis to 51 yards Rushing and Clowney to no sacks on 1 on 1 blocking. . We were out coached.

    • Might want to talk with your fellow Mizzou fans regarding Franklin’s impact. Many of them all but said Mizzou was as good with Mauk, if not better. I will give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you weren’t one of them.

      • Honestly last week Dawg I thought we didn’t lose much but we did. I think with Franklin in the staff wouldn’t have went as conservative with the Senior. So from that standpoint yea I’m being two faced.

        • You weren’t two faced, you were just wrong. Fans love to think they’re team is just fine with the backup in, but there’s a reason the guy is a backup and not starting. I was just calling out Mizzou fans for falling into that unreasonable mindset. Nothing against y’all, though.

        • No blood no foul dawg, you were right

  • Nothing against Mauk, his starts have been impressive, but Missouri really missed Franklin that day. Missouri’s bad ass receivers against a questionable South Carolina secondary should have been a field day with Odell Beckham Jr.-esque numbers.

  • Really thought Gary Pinkel was outcoached in the second half. Spurrier had desperation and was trying to win the game. Pinkel didn’t have that desperation and Mizzou was playing not to lose their 17-point lead.

    • Jon, totally right. If a coaching staff doesn’t have safe plays, including safe trick plays to run with all that time left in the game, then they are far from exhausting their coaching abilities. Missouri has seen a lot of screen passes this year, they should have been ready for South Carolina’s version of that attack. They clearly do not have any kind of a kicking coach on staff there.

      • one more thing, when Pinkel was on television saying that his team just missed tackles, what was he talking about??? South Carolina outnumbered him on those screen plays over and over again. How simple can that be. Very easy to stop by borrowing a rusher or a deep player for the middle as a reader
        borrowing a pass rusher or

  • I still haven’t seen any explanation of the play just before the clanked fieldgoal on 3rd down. Mauk was I think flushed out of the pocket and ran out of bounds on about the 2 or 3 yd line. I just don’t understand why he didn’t lower his head and try for the endzone.

  • that’s good commentary especially from the fans of other teams all we got. I don’t think I’m as optimistic. all we gotta do is lose one more than SC. we have 4 chances to lose 1, Sc only has 2 SEC games left I don’t see them losing either one. if Mizzou is going to do something special this year they have to win out against some decent competition.

  • I hope rookie OC Henson learns from this and Pinkel eats some ego when it comes to managing the psychology of his players DURING the game. He seems either too damn stubborn or pathetically stoic. As much as I appreciate his program and methods, he misses the boat too often in my opinion. He had plenty of chances to adjust on both sides of the ball. He’s too hands off w his coordinators. If the gameplan goes south, we struggle mightily in recovery. I don’t want him fired, never have, its just I think he can get more out of situations by stepping into the “now” of the moment. Not sure he comprehends and feels the gravity/weight of critical situations in a game. I love a great songwriter, but can u freestyle and STILL move the crowd? hope he returned to CoMo somewhat enlightened and recharged after paying respects to Coach James.

  • It’s great to know that some of the luster will come back to the Iron Bowl. After last year’s season, I thought Auburn would be down for several years. Unlike most UA fans, I cheer for Auburn except for one day a year. I would love to see both schools winning every game up to the biggest rivalry in the country.

  • Connor Shaw’s injuries aren’t due to being fragile. He runs like a running back, and puts his head down and crashes full speed into 300 pound SEC linebackers. The injuries he has suffered would have taken most QB’s out for much longer – twice this season he has come back from what looked like 3 week injuries the very next Saturday. The leg twisting sandwich tackle against Tennessee was talked about by the announcers as “sad to see such a great talent end his career like that,” or something along those lines (that it was a season ending, or career ending injury).

    No, Shaw is not small and fragile. If anything, he is bigger and tougher than those measurements show. A true football hero, for sure. One of the best QB’s in the nation, yes. The only reason he’s not in the running for the Heisman is that he doesn’t put up startling numbers. But Dylan Thompson is a good quarterback. He’s proven it in the past (Clemson game last year). It’s just that Shaw is truly an elite QB. Even more remarkable is that he is a humble one at that. He wins games by sheer force of will, doing whatever it takes, instead of just making 50 pass attempts per game. His completion percentage and passer rating show that he is a top-ten QB. Add his running skills to that, and look at his record as a starter.

    I’ve been saying for two years that CS is the best player we have (yes, even when Lattimore was healthy). No one (other than Manziel) makes their team so much better with their presence. SC was a completely different team with Shaw on the field in Missouri. Even the defense plays better knowing he’ll have the ball when they leave the field.

    Had Shaw not left the Tennessee game, I think we would have squeezed out the win. It’s too bad that Heisman voters just seem to look at stats and records, instead of watching the players every week. If they did that, Shaw would be a top 5 candidate.

  • On Pinkel catching breaks: well they had to face the 3 toughest opponents without their starting qb, or best pass defender They had to play at GA. They now have two of the top three running backs out and two of the top three qbs out. If this is catching breaks?, I guess they will be starting all freshmen in the years they are unlucky.