A passing opportunity?

This isn't the offense anyone envisioned when South Carolina's season started. But despite the offensive struggles, the Gamecocks' have managed to score just enough in most games on the way to an 8-2 record mostly on the strength of the running game.

Sophomore quarterback Connor Shaw said it's been a struggle to get the passing game together, but hopefully this will be the weekend it happens.

"We've been looking to do that for four weeks now," Shaw says. "Maybe this will be the weekend. We'll see."

Shaw played in a shotgun spread option offense in his two years as quarterback at Flower Branch High School.

"I was never in the center in high school," said Shaw. "I was always in the gun. I did some drop back passes in the gun, but never under center."

His experience running the read-option has been instrumental in keeping the Gamecocks' running game going despite the loss of All-American running back Marcus Lattimore. Shaw and freshman running back Brandon Wilds combined for 208 yards and two touchdowns on the ground in last week's 17-12 victory over Florida.

"You really have to pick your poison," said Shaw referring to the zone-read concept. "He crashes, I pull. He goes out, I give in."

While the big game on the ground proved to be enough, Shaw knows for the offense to take off, the passing game has to eventually get going.

While he attempted just 12 passes against the Gators, a key 46-yard fourth-quarter hookup with receiver Ace Sanders set up a field goal that helped put the game away.

"We ran the curl route the first time and he pretty much just sat on it," said Sanders. "I told (Spurrier) just come back and run the streak, if he's going to stand still and we can just run by him."

Sanders said he had faith that Shaw could make the throw so he told him to settle down and do it.

"I told him man just let it go," said Sanders. "We need a big play. He came threw and threw a perfect ball."

The Gamecocks will ultimately look for more plays like that from an offense that has shown promise in practice and flashes in brief periods during the season.

"Just some smalls things; just some missed blocks, him just not seeing us, or us running a bad route, or us dropping some balls previously," said Sanders listings the issues with the passing game. "We all just got to come together as one group and just get on the same page."

Sanders also said the Citadel game could be a big chance at improvement on the field.

Could this be the week the passing game gets going again? "I see it as a big chance for everybody," Sanders says. "I wouldn't say it's like a confidence boosting game, but its like somewhere to get back on your feet. It's a good place to build on."

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