Hawkins, Shaw gear up for round two

CLEMSON - Corico Hawkins hopes to get the best of Connor Shaw in their rematch.

In the fall of 2008, Hawkins' senior season at Baldwin High School, he and Shaw faced off in the third-round of the Georgia AAA state playoffs.

Shaw and Flowery Branch won, 35-17.

"He's a good quarterback. He likes to run. He's going to pull it down and get what he can get on the ground if it's not there in the air."

Shaw beat Baldwin through the air that night.

"He ran it a little bit, but I ran him down a few times," Hawkins said. "He didn't have to run it too much, because he just was throwing it up and they were catching it."

They'll square off again on Saturday night when No. 17 Clemson [9-2, 6-2 ACC] heads to Columbia for the State Championship against No. 12 South Carolina [9-2, 6-2 SEC].

Shaw, a sophomore, has completed 98 of 151 passes for 1,008 yards with nine touchdowns and six interceptions this season. He's third among Gamecock rushers with 376 yards and six touchdowns.

"He can throw it. If it's not there, he can run it. He will beat you with his feet, if you let him," Hawkins said.

The ground is where South Carolina has done most of its damage in 2011.

Nationally, the Gamecocks are the No. 29 rushing offense with 196.61 yards per game.

Missing from that equation is All-American running back Marcus Lattimore, who leads the team with 818 yards and 10 touchdowns.

"They try to run the ball. Of course, it's not as much as the used to do with Marcus," Hawkins said. "For the most part, they still want to run the ball."

Filling in for Lattimore are Brandon Wilds [462 yards, three touchdowns] and Bruce Ellington [106 yards, one touchdown].

"They can get it done. They're not Marcus, but they can get it done. They've got everything it takes to run the football and be successful on anybody," Hawkins said. "They're not Marcus Lattimore, but they are guys that can get it done on any given night. We've just got to tackle them, play the gaps and get them on the ground."

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