Saturday night saw the Gamecocks go through a range of emotions to come away with a 35-25 victory over the Vanderbilt Commodores.
Early on, it appeared the Gamecocks were going to run away with this game after the score increased to a 28-0 lead in favor of South Carolina. Vanderbilt had a different idea. Some special teams blunders helped give Vanderbilt enough ammunition in the second half to make this a close victory for South Carolina.
There were some great performances this weekend against Vanderbilt and those players are in this week's Gamecock Props of the Game:
-- QB Connor Shaw - If there is a game that could stick out as one of the best for Connor Shaw, it was the Vanderbilt game. Shaw was extremely efficient and a field general for the Gamecocks against Vanderbilt as he threw for 284 yards on 21-of-29 passing with three touchdowns and no interceptions. Shaw also rushed the ball 19 times for 84 yards for an average of 4.4 yards per carry.
It's hard for it to get any better from Connor Shaw than what we saw last night. His first two drives ended in touchdowns in the first quarter, including an 11-play, 93 yard drive that happened in just three minutes, fifty-eight seconds of game play. He made the right decisions all night, was accurate with his passes and made plays with his feet when he really needed.
There should be no complaints from Connor Shaw haters after last night's performance.
-- WR Bruce Ellington - Bruce Ellington finally performed like the Gamecocks expected him to when the 2013 season started. Ellington had been somewhat limited early due to a nagging injury but Saturday night was Ellington's coming out party for the 2013 season. He caught a career-high eight passes for a career-high 111 yards and one touchdown. His one touchdown was an incredible play thanks to a great pass from Connor Shaw but Ellington stepping up shows the Gamecocks do have multiple receiving options and makes them dangerous the rest of the season.
-- RB's Mike Davis/Brandon Wilds - Both players are combined here because as a tandem, they added value against Vanderbilt. Davis ran for 77 yards on 17 carries with one touchdown while Wilds added 36 yards on 10 carries. Both players shined in the passing game though as the two combined for 122 yards on 8 catches. Davis added 67 yards on three catches while Wilds picked up 65 yards on five receptions, including a 33-yard touchdown reception.
Davis failed to run for 100 yards for the first time this season but he still showcased that he is the unquestioned starter for South Carolina. Wilds continues to add extreme value off the bench for the Gamecocks.
The Gamecocks have two top-notch running backs and if they both can stay healthy then they should continue to be a force in the running game this year.
-- CB Jimmy Legree - Legree led the team in tackles with seven total tackles on the day but his interception in the end zone with Vanderbilt driving could have been the most important play of the day. Legree picked off Austyn Carta-Samuels pass in the end zone as Vanderbilt was driving to bring the score to within three points with 8:41 left in the fourth quarter. If Legree hadn't made that interception, who knows the outcome of the game. But we know what happened and Legree's play was a big reason why South Carolina held onto victory.
-- Gamecocks defensive line - South Carolina picked up four sacks from their defensive line on Saturday night. Chaz Sutton led the way with 1.5 sacks on the night with Jadeveon Clowney and Kelcy Quarles both picked up one sack a piece and reserve defensive end Mason Harris added .5 sacks on the night as well. They got pressure on Carta-Samuels and played with more intensity than what we've seen the first two weeks. It was a nice step in the right direction.