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October 6, 2013
It was one week ago in Orlando when Connor Shaw was injured on the first drive. Shaw left the field grimacing in pain and would not return. Initial reports from USC were that Shaw would be out for two-to-three weeks.
Shaw had something else on his mind. He had no intentions of missing time in his final season under center for the Gamecocks. Getting back for this week's game against Kentucky was Shaw's plan and that is exactly what he did.
"This is my senior year, and I didn't want to miss another game," Shaw said. "I lived in the treatment room this week. I was able to throw it around a little on Sunday and then a little better on Monday, so I just knew I was going to play this week."
And play he did. Until Shaw knelt down in the victory formation to end the game, he had led his offense on six-straight scoring drives. Every single drive that Shaw lead, his team scored. Just 1:39 into the contest, Shaw connected with Damiere Byrd for a 62-yard scoring strike. It was nicely thrown ball that allowed the speedster to maintain his stride and run under the pass.
Shaw did not show any lingering affects of the banged-up shoulder and would finish the game 17-of-20 for 262 yards with one touchdown pass. He added another score on the ground. Shaw also took care of the ball, avoiding any interceptions or fumbles. His rushing attempts were down as well.
"I always try to stay in the pocket, if I can," Shaw said. "I knew that I couldn't take any unnecessary hits with my shoulder injury so, yeah, I stayed in there (the pocket). Coach Spurrier also worked with me on that a little this week."
Steve Spurrier was not surprised with Shaw's performance, however, saying, "He played his normal game. He can stay in the pocket, and he can run out. Excellent touchdown there in the end, and a heck of a play on the two-point conversion."
Shaw demonstrated his leadership throughout the week. He showed his teammates that he would make every effort to see the field. His teammates were not going to be let down by Shaw through lack of effort. One week removed from an injury expected to sideline him for two-to-three weeks, Shaw returned just seven days later. He led his team to victory with his play on the field and he showed his dedication to his teammates off the field.
With Spurrier's evident frustration with Jadaveon Clowney for his unwillingness to play against Kentucky, Connor Shaw should be commended for his effort and his leadership this week. It seems that if leadership has lacked from this year's squad, Shaw may be ready to assume that role.
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