South Carolina expected a test Saturday after two out-of-conference breathers.
Instead, the No. 7 Gamecocks made Missouri look like it doesnt belong in the SEC with a 31-10 win in front of 80,836 in Williams-Brice Stadium.
We wanted to prove what the SEC was all about, quarterback Connor Shaw said.
Shaw, playing with a small fracture in his right shoulder blade, bounced his first pass of the day off the turf, and he hasnt thrown an incompletion since. The junior completed 20 straight passes, the second-highest total in SEC history, for 249 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions.
He got off to a slow start, coach Steve Spurrier joked, before calling Shaws performance sensational.
Shaws passer rating of 226.27 was the highest of any quarterback in the country in a conference game this year.
The shoulder felt fine, Shaw said. I am sure it will be sore tomorrow, but during the game, it was fine. Honestly, I really wasnt aware of (the streak). I was just concentrating on completing balls.
Only once in Shaws career has he completed more than 20 passes, and that was 26 in a 54-3 win over Kentucky in 2011. The moribund Wildcats (1-3) are next on the schedule in a 7 p.m. game next week in Lexington, Ky., and then No. 5 Georgia comes into Williams-Brice Stadium for the most anticipated game in the SEC East this season.
Hes had a lot of great games, so its hard to say his best game, but it might have been, running back Marcus Lattimore said. He was 20-of-21. Thats unheard of in the SEC.
Not quite, but close. Tennessees Tee Martin completed 23 straight in a 23-of-24 performance in 1998, but Shaws .952 completion percentage was a South Carolina record. Shaw also rushed 12 times for 41 yards and had an 80-yard touchdown run called back by a clipping penalty against Mike Matulis.
Hes our man, Lattimore said.
The Tigers (2-2 0-2 SEC) were playing their second SEC game and first SEC road game since moving from the Big 12 in the offseason, and they wont be eager to return to Columbia, S.C. Missouri was in danger of being held without a touchdown for the first time since 2005 before throwing a 1-yard scoring pass with 17 seconds remaining.
Theyre a top 10 team, maybe a top five team, Tigers coach Gary Pinkel said of the Gamecocks.
Missouri wide receiver and captain T.J. Moes attention was focused more on his team.
We sucked, Moe said. Theres not much better way to put it.
Only two of Missouris 12 possessions included more than one first down. Through three quarters, South Carolina had more yards on seven kick returns (156) than the Tigers had on 41 offensive plays (151).
Yeah, they started to slow down, Gamecocks linebacker Shaq Wilson said, but we had the mentality that the game was 0-0 the whole game.
South Carolina gained 396 yards and would have made the final score worse if not for two fumbles and a turnover on downs inside their red zone. Lattimore had 85 yards rushing, 60 yards receiving (on a career-high seven catches) and two touchdowns. Ace Sanders and Rory Anderson also scored.
It was sort of surprising, Missouri sort of laid back in a cover two zone the whole first half, mixed it up just a little bit after that, Spurrier said. They didnt really blitz a lot it seemed like, but they were tough, they were tough.
Not as tough as the Gamecocks, though.
I think it was evident we were a little stronger than Missouri, Spurrier said. Our defensive guys were really fast out there. It was just a real good win for us.
USC: Lattimore 2 run (Yates kick), 11:08.
USC: Lattimore 1 run (Yates kick), 10:14.
Mo: FG Baggett 22, 1:20.
USC: Sanders 23 pass from C.Shaw (Yates kick), :24.
USC: Anderson 13 pass from C.Shaw (Yates kick), 2:17.
USC: FG Yates 38, 4:45.
Mo: Lucas 1 pass from Berkstresser (Baggett kick), :17.
|Time of Possession||27:27||32:33|
... Missouri, Lawrence 11-67, Hansbrough 3-29, J.Franklin 15-6, Murphy 2-4, Berkstresser 1-3.
... South Carolina, Lattimore 21-85, C. Shaw 12-41, Miles 4-9, M.Davis 1-6, Byrd 1-3.
... Missouri, J. Franklin 11-18-0-92, Berkstresser 7-8-0-54.
... South Carolina, C. Shaw 20-21-0-249, Thompson 1-2-0-3.
... Missouri, Lucas 9-78, J.Hunt 2-34, Moe 2-13, Lawrence 2-11, McGaffie 2-7, Murphy 1-3.
... South Carolina, Lattimore 7-60, Cunningham 4-41, Byrd 3-26, Miles 2-26, Jones 1-36, Sanders 1-23, Ellington 1-17, Anderson 1-13, Gilchrist 1-10.