Searching for respect: Connor Shaw’s stats tend to get lost in SEC shuffle

dcloninger@thestate.comOctober 13, 2013 

  • Gamecocks vs. Volunteers

    WHO: USC (5-1, 3-1 SEC) vs. Tennessee (3-3, 0-2)

    WHERE: Neyland Stadium, Knoxville, Tenn.

    WHEN: Saturday, noon

    TV: ESPN

    RADIO: WNKT-FM 107.5

    SATELLITE RADIO: Sirius 91/XM 91

    LINE: USC by 7.5

There won’t be any Davey O’ Brien Award alerts, and there likely won’t be any nods from the SEC office when player of the week awards are handed out Monday.

That’s OK. Connor Shaw’s coach knows exactly how valuable his senior quarterback is, and has been, to 11th-ranked South Carolina.

“We are where we are because he’s played well,” coach Steve Spurrier said Sunday, while wrapping up the Gamecocks’ 52-7 shellacking of Arkansas on Saturday. “You look at Connor Shaw’s statistics, and they’re pretty much fantastic.”

Shaw was 19-of-28 for 219 yards and three touchdowns, plus rushing for 37 yards and another score, against the Razorbacks. That brought his season passing totals to 85-of-124 for 1,146 yards with 10 touchdowns and no interceptions.

Shaw is third in the SEC and seventh in the country in passing efficiency and 14th in the country in completion percentage (68.5). Yet, he’s not mentioned as one of the elite quarterbacks in his own conference, much less the country.

It’s hard to carve a place for Shaw in a conference that includes the reigning Heisman Trophy winner and future NFL All-Pros, but Spurrier feels that Shaw deserves a lot of mentions.

“He certainly should,” Spurrier said. “I think it’s up to you guys to maybe put his name out there a little bit. The biggest thing he’s done is he’s 22-4 as a starter.”

Shaw will become USC’s all-time winningest quarterback with three more wins, breaking the record held by Todd Ellis (1986-89). But Ellis lost 16 games and tied three. Shaw won’t come close to that total.

This year, Shaw has improved his game as the Gamecocks’ offense has become a stellar unit, efficient and deadly. He’s the point man of it and deserves some of the credit.

“I think he’s a little bit better passer than he was than his first or second year,” Spurrier said. “And last year, he hurt his foot against Tennessee. He’s very healthy now, he feels good. He’s really getting down better.”

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