There are two leggy plays that stand out this season when opposing teams break down film of South Carolina quarterback Connor Shaw.
Theres the scrambling 20-yard pass completion to Bruce Ellington against UAB when Shaw reaggravated his injured shoulder while taking an especially brutal hit.
Theres also the 80-yard run for a touchdown against Missouri that was called back because of a clipping penalty.
Though both plays had something of a negative result, both illustrate how dangerous Shaw is, especially when there is an elite running back like Marcus Lattimore lining up behind him. No. 5 Georgia will be the next team to try to solve the riddle of No. 6 USCs backfield on Saturday in front of a national audience on television.
When you watch him, hes very athletic, very tough, Georgia coach Mark Richt said. Ive seen him drop back in the pocket and make great throws and Ive seen him be very wise if things werent open. He begins to scramble and hes probably completed just as many balls off the scramble as he has from the pocket.
Shaw has completed 35 of 39 pass attempts in the past two weeks, and its that added threat as a passer that gives the Georgia defense heartburn, according to linebacker Christian Robinson. Georgias defense can do everything right when it comes to accounting for Lattimore and Shaws receivers and can even be doing a decent job on Shaw, only to see things break down because of his ability to keep plays alive.
You have to do well on a first down, second down, maybe a third down to make Connor Shaw make a throw and keep him in the pocket, Robinson said. He makes a lot of throws on the run and thats the big thing for us.
Hes an athlete, Robinson continued. Hes faster than Stephen Garcia, hes throwing a little better at this point, in my experience, than Garcia, which makes him dangerous.
Shaw has amassed more than 200 yards rushing even without the 80-yard touchdown. Richt has come to marvel at Shaws ability to make the right decisions.
Hell cross the line of scrimmage, Richt said. They do have the designed QB run for him, but he also has a lot of yards rushing coming off a drop-back pass as well. Hes just a very dangerous quarterback and a guy who is making tremendous decisions.
Bulldogs defensive tackle Abry Jones said Shaw has been exceptional at getting teams to commit to his running ability only to burn them with his arm.
Youre really kind of scared of him running sometimes and Ive seen teams react more to his running and he gets the ball off while hes running, Jones said. The wide receivers are able to get open and he hits them downfield while hes running. Thats something we have to look for.
Georgia defensive lineman John Jenkins compared Shaw and Lattimore to West Virginias former standout duo of quarterback Pat White and running back Steve Slaton.
Its a comparison that has, well, legs.