Shaw on target in No. 7 South Carolina's win over Missouri
In SEC East Division game
Saturday, September 22, 2012
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Connor Shaw completed 20 straight passes and threw for two touchdowns, Marcus Lattimore ran for two scores and No. 7 South Carolina manhandled Missouri 31-10 in the Tigers first Southeastern Conference road game Saturday.
Shaw missed his first pass to Lattimore on the game's first series, then hit his final 20 and finished with 252 yards passing as the Gamecocks (2-0 SEC) improved to 4-0 for just the ninth time in 119 seasons of football.
Missouri (2-2, 0-2) struggled against a Gamecocks defense that has given up three touchdowns all year. The Tigers had a season-low 254 yards.
Lattimore rushed for 85 yards. His touchdowns gave him South Carolina's career mark with 33 rushing scores, a record Lattimore shared with Heisman Trophy winner George Rogers and Harold Green.
Shaw came into the game having played just two quarters the past two contests because of a shoulder injury sustained in the season-opening win over Vanderbilt. But Spurrier raised plenty of eyebrows early this week, flatly stating Shaw was fine and ready to go.
South Carolina's head ball coach knew what he was talking about.
Shaw was on target throughout and showed no discomfort from the hairline fracture in his right, throwing shoulder. His consecutive passes streak was second in the SEC to Tennessee's Tee Martin, who completed 23 in a row against the Gamecocks at Williams-Brice Stadium during the Vols' national championship season.
Shaw, known for his running, also gained 41 yards on the ground as he completely dismissed the notion of a quarterback debate with backup Dylan Thompson, who threw for 500 yards and five TDs while Shaw sat.
The Gamecocks' defense didn't miss senior safety D.J. Swearinger, suspended by the SEC for his hit on UAB's Patrick Hearn last week. Missouri had just 151 yards through three quarters.
The Tigers finally crossed the goalline on Corbin Berkstresser's 1-yard pass to Marcus Lucas with 17 seconds left.
Missouri had held strong into the third quarter before fading in its SEC opener against No. 5 Georgia two weeks ago. The Tigers fell apart in the second quarter in their first conference road game since joining the league this fall.
Ace Sanders' 49-yard punt return to the Missouri 4 set up Lattimore's first rushing TD from 2 yards out.
Missouri's Russell Hansbrough fumbled on the team's following possession and South Carolina took over at the Tigers 37.
Shaw threw to Nick Jones for 36 yards to the Missouri 1 and Lattimore followed with another touchdown.
Missouri put together its offense near the end of the half, driving 76 yards to the South Carolina 4. That's when the Gamecocks' defense — third in the SEC and the country last year — kicked in. Chaz Sutton stuffed Franklin for a 3-yard loss on 1st-and-goal, and Franklin overthrew Dorial Green-Beckham at the back of the end zone two plays later.
The Tigers settled for Andrew Baggett's 22-yard field goal with 1:20 left.
South Carolina, though, wasn't finished. Bruce Ellington went 50 yards on the Gamecocks first kickoff return of the season and five plays later, Shaw connected with Sanders for a 23-yard touchdown with 24 seconds to go that put South Carolina ahead 21-3.
The fans at sold-out Williams-Brice broke out the "S-E-C" chant as Missouri defenders jogged off the field.
Things could've been worse if not for several Gamecocks breakdowns. Damiere Byrd's fumble inside Missouri's 20 ended one drive and a clipping penalty wiped out Shaw's 80-yard scoring run a series later.
Shaw eventually drove the Gamecocks 89 yards to the Missouri 1 on the play before he was stuffed on third and fourth downs to turn the ball back to the Tigers.
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