Originally written on Rumors and Rants  |  Last updated 8/31/12

AUBURN, AL - SEPTEMBER 25: Backup quarterback Connor Shaw of the South Carolina Gamecocks looks to pass against the Auburn Tigers at Jordan-Hare Stadium on September 25, 2010 in Auburn, Alabama. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

After injuring his throwing shoulder Thursday night at Vandy, South Carolina starter Connor Shaw appears OK to go next week against East Carolina.

In their 17-13 win over Vanderbilt, the South Carolina Gamecocks used a very Steve Spurrier-like three quarterbacks. However, it was for somewhat un-Spurrier-like reasons. Shaw appeared to injure his shoulder in the first half and was seen receiving treatment on the sideline. At one point, it seemed there was a chance he wouldn’t return for the second half.

He did, and finished the game completed 7 of 11 passes for 67 yards and an interception. He also ran 14 times for 92 yards as a part of a 205-yard rushing night for the Gamecocks. The other two quarterbacks, Dylan Thompson and Seth Strickland, were a combined 0-for-4 throwing the ball.

This is a completely backwards story for a Spurrier team. Usually, losing a quarterback for his teams means a dent in the passing game, but Shaw is a dual-threat guy (though some would say his passing isn’t exactly a threat), and the problems arise when he isn’t in because teams can focus their entire rush defense on Heisman candidate running back Marcus Lattimore (23 carries 110 yds 2 TD vs Vanderbilt). Watching a Spurrier team run the zone read and various option plays AND seeing defenses worry more about the quarterback scrambling out of the pocket on a pass play than throwing from it is still jarring even though everyone knew Shaw would be the starter this year.

The fact that Shaw is a runner is what makes last night’s performance a very gutty one. He was never going to pass Vandy to death, but he still ran, bad shoulder and all, and knew he was going to take some hits even if it might have made the injury worse. And he managed to drive his team down the field when they were losing in the fourth quarter, absolutely gutting Vanderbilt and their fans, who seemed to be getting just a glimmer of hope that they might get a program-redefining win over a top ten team.

East Carolina, the Gamecocks’ next opponent, will not present nearly the same challenge as Vanderbilt, so if Shaw is even a little sore, expect him to get the hook once the Gamecocks are up big. After last night, I somehow doubt they’ll limit his runs, however.

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