Connor Shaw is 16-0 at Williams-Brice Stadium.
Tajh Boyd with a Chick-fil-A Bowl upset of LSU and a season-opening win over Georgia helped Clemson become the first non-SEC team to defeat top 10 SEC teams in consecutive games.
Something has to give for the senior quarterbacks and their friends Saturday night when No. 6 Clemson plays at No. 10 South Carolina.
Whatever happens, Boyd and Shaw will add to an astonishing historical record of elite quarterbacks on a Braggin’ Rights collision course.
“Two very similar guys from that standpoint in this ballgame,” Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney said this week. “Two great quarterbacks. Two guys that both programs are going to miss more than people realize.”
Glitzy numbers agree:
ACC touchdown passing leaders
Player, school Years TDs
1. Tajh Boyd, Clemson 2010-2013 102
2. Philip Rivers, N.C. State 2000-2003 95
3. Chris Weinke, Florida St. 1997-2000 79
4. Russell Wilson, N.C. State 2008-2010 76
Gamecock golden age
South Carolina’s winningest football seasons:
Year Wins Primary quarterback(s)
2012 11 Connor Shaw/Dylan Thompson
2011 11 Connor Shaw/Stephen Garcia
1984 10 Mike Hold/Allen Mitchell
2013 9+ Connor Shaw/Dylan Thompson
(also 9 wins in 2001, 2010)
Two tough guys
Shaw came off the bench, played hurt and completed 20 of 29 passes for three touchdowns while leading the Gamecocks to a 27-24 double-overtime victory at Missouri on Oct. 26.
When it was over, defensive tackle Kelcy Quarles said he wouldn’t trade Shaw for a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
“I love that man to death,” Quarles said.
Boyd threw for 346 yards and two touchdowns while rallying Clemson to a 25-24 victory over LSU in the Chick-fil-A Bowl last New Year’s Eve.
“Tajh Boyd was phenomenal,” LSU head coach Les Miles said. “I did not expect the heroic, if you will, efforts that he had. “… I just want you to know he played extremely well in this game. Very, very, very big night for him. ... I saw a number of our men really hit him clean shots. It’s amazing how he continued to play as well as he did.”
Winningest South Carolina quarterbacks
Player, Years W-L
1. Connor Shaw, 2010-2013 25-5 (.833)
2. Todd Ellis, 1986-1989 24-16-3 (.593)
3. Garry Harper, 1978-1980 20-12-1 (.621)
3. Stephen Garcia, 2008-2011 20-14 (.588)
3. Steve Taneyhill, 1992-1995 20-19-1 (.526)
Winningest Clemson quarterbacks
Player, Years W-L
1. Rodney Williams, 1985-88 32-10-2 (.761)
2. Tajh Boyd, 2010-2013 31-7 (.815)
3. Charlie Whitehurst, 2002-2005 25-15 (.625)
4. Nealon Greene, 1994-97 24-16 (.600)
2013 Adjusted QBR
Adjusted Quarterback Rating is ESPN’s zero-to-100 formula that includes a multitude of factors including opponents, rushing and situational productivity (Florida State’s Jameis Winston is No. 1 at 92.7).
12. Tajh Boyd, 81.2
32. Connor Shaw, 72.6
Connor Shaw isn’t one for boasting or trash-talking, but he did sport a “Beast Mode” T-shirt immediately following the Gamecocks’ 34-13 victory over Clemson in 2011. Shaw said he got it from South Carolina strength coach Craig Fitzgerald.
Boyd generally is more expressive, but went above and beyond at the ACC Football Kickoff last August. When asked if he listened to country music, he sang a few lines of Eric Church’s “Springsteen.” Later, as part of an ACC promotion, Boyd donned a gaudy crown and repeated the performance.
Boyd vs. Shaw in their only previous meeting, South Carolina’s 34-13 win in 2011:
Player Att-Comp-Int Yds TD Rushing
Boyd 11-29-1 83 1 11-(-23)
Shaw 14-20-0 210 3 19-107, 1 TD
Common SEC opponents
South Carolina lost, 23-21 in Baton Rouge
Clemson won, 25-24 in Chick-fil-A Bowl
Shaw 19 of 34, 177 yards, 2 interceptions, 2 TDs; 12 carries, minus-1 yard, no TDs
Boyd 36 of 50, 346 yards, 0 interceptions, 2 TDs; 29 carries, 22 yards, 1 TD
Clemson won, 38-35 at Clemson
South Carolina lost, 41-30 at Georgia
Shaw 16 of 25, 225 yards, 0 interceptions, 2 TDs; 16 carries, 75 yards, 0 TDs
Boyd 18 of 30, 270 yards, 0 interceptions, 3 TDs; 13 carries, 42 yards, 2 TDs
Follow Gene Sapakoff on Twitter @sapakoff
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