In the featured Southeastern Conference game of Saturday evening, things looked dim for the South Carolina Gamecocks after three quarters. South Carolina trailed the home standing Missouri Tigers 17-0, and had mustered little offense in the game. And when they did move the ball, turnovers had killed the Gamecocks.
Then, Connor Shaw came to the rescue. Shaw was supposed to miss the game after twisting his knee in last week’s loss to the Tennessee Volunteers. But Shaw convinced head coach Steve Spurrier that he was healthy enough to give it a go. And with the frustration that South Carolina was dealing with on offense, Spurrier was willing to try anything.
Not only did Shaw play on his bad knee, he played very well. He came into the game in the third quarter, and early in the fourth, he connected with Bruce Ellington on a six-yard scoring pass to cut the lead to 17-7. South Carolina added a field goal to make it 17-10, then Shaw drove his team down the field and, with 42 seconds left in regulation, he hit Nick Jones from two yards out to tie the game at 17.
In the first overtime, after Missouri had already scored a touchdown, Shaw came up with another huge play. On fourth-and-goal from the 15, he found Ellington again, and the touchdown tied the game at 24.
South Carolina would win the game in the second overtime after a Mizzou missed field goal. But the Gamecocks would not have been in that position if not for Shaw’s heroics. For the second time this season (the first was against the Kentucky Wildcats), Shaw played when he wasn’t supposed to, and he led his team to victory.
Shaw will never win the Heisman Trophy or any big-time individual award, but Spurrier and the Gamecocks wouldn’t trade him for anyone.
Tim Letcher is a contributing writer for RantSports.com and a member of the Football Writers Association of America. Follow him on Twitter @TimLetcher , on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.