"Gutsy" performance by Shaw

Connor Shaw went down late in the second quarter with an injured shoulder. He would later return to lead the Gamecocks to another come-from-behind victory in the fourth quarter, a 17-13 victory over Vanderbilt to open up the 2012 season. Head coach Steve Spurrier summed it up by saying it was just a "gutsy performance."

It didn't look like much.

With just over three minutes to play in the first half, ninth-ranked South Carolina quarterback Connor Shaw scrambled left to avoid pressure from Vanderbilt's Kyle Woestmann and then cut back up the middle, diving down after a short gain. It looked innocent enough.

It almost cost Carolina a win.

As Shaw slid to the ground, Vandy linebacker Kellen Williams hit Shaw just above the shoulder blade with his left knee.

"I got hit in the back and the nerves shut down and I couldn't feel my arm. I was in pain for a little bit and we got back in the locker room and started working it a little bit and I was able to get back out there."

Initially it looked very bad. Shaw came off the field with his right shoulder hanging down and immediately headed to the locker room. He would come back on the field during halftime without shoulder pads on and threw some passes. When he went back to the locker room to put his shoulder pads on he had little movement in his right arm. Instead of running back onto the field with his teammates, Shaw remained in the locker room. Back-up Dylan Thompson was unable to get anything going offensively as Vanderbilt took a 13-10 lead.

"They gave me some medicine," Shaw said. "I got a ball and just started working out, I didn't want it to get stiff on me. It was painful, but I got through it."

After an initial three-and-out when Shaw returned to the game, he would attempt to lead his team down the field for the go-ahead score. On a third-and-seven to open up the fourth quarter, Shaw checked down to Marcus Lattimore for an eight yard gain and first down. Two plays later Shaw delivered a perfect pass right to the chest of Justice Cunningham, who made an unbelievable catch to hold on to the ball after getting drilled by Andre Hal.

After a Rory Anderson false start and completion to Marcus Lattimore, Shaw would call his own number on a draw. Picking up key downfield blocks by center T.J. Johnson and Lattimore on the Vandy linebackers, Shaw showed no regard for the injured shoulder as he laid out for the end zone shoulder-first. Two plays later Lattimore would go in from one yard out to score the game-winning touchdown.

"That just shows what kind of person he is," Lattimore said. "You can see by the way he plays on the field what kind of person he is. It's just guts. He's determined and he loves this team and he's going to do whatever he can to win the game and I appreciate him. He was hurting bad, but he was not going to come out because we needed him."

Shaw was not done sacrificing his body at that point. Later in the fourth quarter Shaw again found himself running for his life on a second-and-11 play. Shaw was upended by Vandy's Larry Franklin and came down flat on his back. Shaw's extra effort brought extra punishment on his shoulder, but it gave Carolina a first down to extend the drive and keep the clock running. Then on the final play of the game, Shaw scrambled right and picked up the first down, sliding safely towards the sideline. That allowed the Gamecocks to run out the clock and pick up the win.

"It wasn't too pretty, but we'll take the win, especially against Vanderbilt in this place," Shaw said. "They're real pesky and they play really hard. They're going to win some games this year."

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