COLUMBIA, S.C. -- Planning to contain South Carolina’s dual-threat quarterback Connor Shaw and actually doing it are two very different things.
Georgia learned that on Saturday night as Shaw’s running and throwing ability allowed the No. 6 Gamecocks to easily drive for touchdowns on their first two possessions en route to a crucial 35-7 win against the fifth-ranked Bulldogs.
“He played an outstanding game,” Georgia coach Mark Richt said. “We did nothing to make it tough on him as far as decision-making or to have to drop back and throw and make a bunch of plays that way. They threw when they wanted to throw.”
The Gamecocks came out wanting to throw, and Shaw got the job done, completing 5 of 7 passes for 100 yards in the first quarter, including a 42-yard bomb to Damiere Byrd where the receiver made an acrobatic catch by snatching the ball away from Bulldogs safety Bacarri Rambo. That set up a 20-yard touchdown pass to Bruce Ellington moments later.
Shaw was just as efficient on the second drive, leading the Gamecocks 69 yards in 11 plays and capping the possession with a 14-yard touchdown pass to Rory Anderson.
Multiple times on both possessions did the Georgia native escape the pocket to make a throw on the run or scramble for a first down that kept a drive alive and kept the Bulldogs scratching their heads.
“We knew we had to stop him and his running ability,” Georgia defensive end Abry Jones said. “He did a great job of making plays for them on third down, really leaking out and getting first downs and extending the drive. That’s something that we really had to stop that we didn’t get control of.”
Thanks to an Ace Sanders touchdown on a 70-yard punt return, the Gamecocks led 21-0 only 10 minutes into the game. They slowed down the game in the second half, but Shaw still made two big plays that helped the Gamecocks maintain command.
He hit D.L. Moore for a 62-yard pass, setting up Marcus Lattimore’s 1-yard touchdown run to make it 28-0, in the third quarter. And then he ended a 14-play, 89-yard drive in the fourth quarter by diving for a 7-yard touchdown.
Shaw ended the night 6-for-10 for 162 yards and two touchdowns, along with 78 rushing yards on 14 carries, but he left a bigger impression on the Bulldogs.
“I think he made a lot of good plays,” Georgia outside linebacker Jarvis Jones said. “He definitely did, especially in the first half -- two touchdowns and then the last [touchdown]. I misread it, and he cut it up and ran in. I think he’s a good quarterback as far as the style of offense they run. I think they executed and he made plays.”