COLUMBIA — South Carolina quarterback Connor Shaw is still perfect at Williams-Brice Stadium.
The senior quarterback from Flowery Branch, Ga., completed 21 of 29 passes for 284 yards and three touchdowns in the Gamecocks’ 35-25 victory over Vanderbilt Saturday night.
“I wouldn’t want to be any other place in the world,” Shaw said. “There’s just something about Williams-Brice and playing in front of our fans that’s special. It’s always fun coming here and playing.”
Shaw is 19-4 as a starter, 12-0 in home games.
Shaw added 84 rushing yards, which gave him 368 yards of total offense against the Commodores.
The 284 passing yards were third most in a single game for Shaw, who threw for 356 yards against Tennessee last season.
“I thought (Shaw) had a heck of a game,” said South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier. “He’s a really good passer. We gave him a game ball.”
The Gamecocks have won 13 straight games at Williams-Brice, tying the second-longest home winning streak in school history. The longest home winning streak is 15 games from 1978-80. The 13-consecutive wins ties Georgia for the second longest streak in Division I football, behind only Michigan, which has won 16 straight games.
The South Carolina defense had not forced a turnover in its first two games — a point that Spurrier and defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward brought up several times during the week.
The Gamecocks had two against the Commodores.
“Turnovers are important, they’re just like a stop,” Ward said. “It was a point of emphasis in practice this week and it was nice to finally get a couple.”
The Gamecocks’ defense got their first turnover midway through the third quarter when defensive end Jadeveon Clowney sacked Vanderbilt quarterback Austyn Carta-Samuels and Kelcy Quarles recovered the fumble.
USC cornerback Jimmy Legree, a former Beaufort High School star, intercepted a pass in the end zone to end a Vanderbilt scoring threat midway through the fourth quarter.
“They hadn’t run a slant all season and I took a chance,” Legree said
With the loss of Alshon Jeffery and Ace Sanders to the NFL the last two seasons, the South Carolina receivers were supposed to be the weak link offensively for the Gamecocks.
They were anything but weak against Vanderbilt.
Nine different receivers caught at least one pass against the Commodores. Throw in quarterback Dylan Thompson, who caught his own pass after a deflection at the line of scrimmage, and 10 different players ended the game with a reception.
“I told the guys we were going to spread it around this week,” Shaw said. “I felt really comfortable out there tonight.”
Bruce Ellington, a former Berkeley High School star, led the Gamecocks with eight receptions for 111 yards and a TD. It was Ellington’s third 100-yard receiving game during his career.
“It was just my week to catch some balls,” Ellington said.
Matthews has below average game
The Gamecocks’ secondary had their issues, especially in the second half. But it wasn’t because of Vanderbilt’s All-SEC wide receiver Jordan Matthews.
Matthews finished the game with eight receptions for 106 yards, including a long catch of 29 yards. Two receptions came on the Commodores final possession when the game had been decided. Matthews came into the game averaging eight receptions for 147 yards. A year ago, he had eight catches for 147 yards and a TD against the Gamecocks.
Clowney to have surgery after season
Clowney said the bone spurs in his foot continue to bother him and he will have surgery once the season is over.
Clowney has had issues with his foot dating back to high school. A year ago, Clowney was limited in practice, but missed just one game.
“It doesn’t hurt when I play, but it does kind of get worse as the week goes on,” Clowney said.
Clowney finished with four tackles, including a sack and a forced fumble. It was the ninth forced fumble of his career.
USC running back Mike Davis left the game in the fourth quarter with a left foot injury and did not return to the game.
The injury was not thought to be serious.
“There’s nothing wrong with my foot,” a smiling Davis said after the game.
Center Cody Waldrop missed his second straight game with a foot injury.
Waldrop was in a walking boot and on crutches on the sidelines for the Gamecocks. Redshirt freshman Clayton Stadnik got his second straight start.
Safety Kadetrix Marcus was injured in the third quarter, but returned to the game. Marcus did not play last week against Georgia.
Former USC coach dies
Former South Carolina head football coach Warren Giese died Thursday in Columbia.
He was 89.
Giese coached the Gamecocks from 1956-60, compiling a 28–21–1 record over five years. His 28 wins are the eighth-most all-time at South Carolina.
Giese’s best season came in 1958 when he led the Gamecocks to a 7-3 record, including a 5-2 mark in the ACC and finished the season ranked 13th in the country.
A former elected member of the South Carolina Senate, Giese played football at Oklahoma and Central Michigan. He also served in the Navy.
Drew Meyer inducted
South Carolina inducted eight new members into the school’s athletic hall of fame, including former Bishop England High School baseball star Drew Meyer.
They included Jake Bodkin (football), Chris Boyle (baseball), Dave DeCamilla (football), Arlo Elkins (tennis coach), Charmaine Howell (women’s track), Max Runager (football), Megan Matthews (softball) and Meyer (baseball).
Meyer still holds the SEC record for most hits in a season with 120. He was a member of the 2000 SEC championship team and helped lead the Gamecocks to the 2002 College World Series. Meyer was a first-round draft pick of the Texas Rangers.