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Spurs & Feathers 1/8 edition (Capital One Bowl)

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    our 2013 mvp:Connor Shaw

    January 8, 2014 Volume 36 Issue 1

  • 2 Spurs & Feathers January 8, 2014

    by brian handbhand@spursandfeathers.com

    ORLANDO - Eighth-ranked South Carolina collected its third straight 11-win season by besting 19th-ranked Wisconsin, 34-24, in the Capital One Bowl before a crowd of 56,629 at the Florida Citrus Bowl Stadium.

    The South Carolina (11-2) bowl win over Wisconsin (9-4) gives the Gamecocks three straight New Years Day bowl victories. The Gamecocks bested Nebraska, 30-13, in the 2012 Capital One Bowl and Michigan, 33-28, in the 2013 Outback Bowl.

    South Carolina has now claimed a program-best 42 wins over the course of the last four seasons.

    Wonderful win for us, South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier noted. If someone said youre going to win by 10 and give up a kickoff return at halftime when it looked like it would go either way, youd say, how is that going to happen? He (Connor Shaw) was sensational. Bruce Ellington made some catches. Shaq (Roland) made some good ones and our defense came alive in the fourth quarter. We were very good defensively in the fourth quarter. It was a fourth-quarter game, so it was really neat to get us another bowl championship down here. Two in a row to Capital One. Three in a row to Florida. So it feels pretty good.

    Spurrier coached his 300th career game in the Capital One Bowl win over Wisconsin.

    Everything in all my life, in all the Game-cock life, weve never had three years identical, Spurrier said. I mean, think about it: 6-2 in the conference, 11-2, win a bowl game, beat Clem-son in all three. Theyre identical years, almost. Won 18 in a row at home. Thats something that is amazing to me, too.

    We lead the nation right now in consecutive home victories 18 in a row, weve won at home and they have not been blowouts. They have not been like some of the games when I was coaching in the Swamp, there were a lot of blowouts there, but these were just games that could have gone either way and somehow or another, these guys make plays to win the game, so its been amazing. Its been a wonderful time for all of us, Spurrier continued.

    South Carolina received the opening kickoff of the game. On the inaugural offensive play of the contest, the Gamecocks connected on a 20-yard pass completion from Shaw to Eilling-ton. The Gamecocks would not be able to take advantage of getting the ball into Wisconsin ter-ritory on their opening drive with South Caro-lina having to punt the football to the Badgers.

    Wisconsin looked as if they would take advan-tage of the Gamecocks being unable to score on their first offensive drive as they marched the football into Gamecock territory on strong running. The strong Badger running in the early

    portion of the drive included a 32-yard run by Corey Clement. The Badger offense would stall on the drive though shortly thereafter and after a botched fake field goal attempt the Gamecocks received the ball back at their own 30-yard line.

    The Gamecocks could not score on their sec-ond offensive drive of the game either, but on Wisconsins second time with the football on offense, Badger starting quarterback Joel Stave was intercepted by Skai Moore who then re-turned the football to Wisconsins 39-yard line.

    The Gamecocks wasted no time from there as Shaw found a streaking Bruce Ellington for a 39-yard touchdown to give South Carolina the 7-0 advantage.

    The first quarter would conclude with the Gamecocks owning that 7-0 lead, but Wiscon-sin commenced the second quarter by scoring on a one-yard pass from Stave to Sam Arneson. The touchdown that tied the game at 7-7 con-cluded a six-play, 71-yard drive for Wisconsin that encompassed 2:49. The play of the drive was a 36-yard pass from Stave to Jacob Peder-sen that placed the football at the one-yard line for the eventual Badger touchdown.

    Shaw and Ellington did a little bit of every-thing to give the Gamecocks back the lead on their next offensive possession. Ellington put the Gamecocks in scoring position when he made a 32-yard circus catch where had to turn around in full stride and catch the football just before it hit the ground. The acrobatic catch put the Gamecocks at the Wisconsin nine-yard line.

    The ball at the nine-yard line, the Gamecocks then used some trickeration to score. The touch-down happened on a jet sweep double reverse where Shaw handed the ball off to Pharoh Coo-per who tossed to Ellington who then eventually found Shaw in the end zone for a nine-yard touchdown and his first career touchdown catch. The Gamecocks could not convert the extra point attempt to set the score at 13-7 South Carolina with 6:48 remaining in the first half. The touchdown was part of a 12-play, 86-yard scoring drive that took 5:57 off the clock.

    Wisconsin would take the lead just before halftime when Stave completed a three-yard sideline pass to the right side to Jeff Duckworth with 13 seconds left in the first half of action. The ensuing extra point garnered Wisconsin a 14-13 lead at intermission. The touchdown capped a 16-play, 75-yard drive that lasted 6:35.

    The Badgers finished with 223 yards of total offense on 34 total plays in the first half. The Gamecocks obtained 183 yards of total offense on 28 plays in the first half of play.

    Wisconsin received the kickoff to start the second half and looked as if they would open things up in the half with a touchdown. The Gamecock defense stood tall in the red zone and after a sack on third down the Gamecocks held Wisconsin to a field goal that made it 17-13 in their favor with 11:19 to play in the third quarter.

    The 35-yard field goal by Jack Russell was the culmination of a seven-play, 47-yard drive that lasted 3:41 for the Badgers.

    The Gamecocks would fumble the football on their first offensive possession of the second half, but Wisconsin would not make the Game-cocks pay with Russell missing his field goal attempt.

    South Carolina would make Wisconsin pay for their missed field goal next on the back of El-lington who on fourth and seven at Wisconsins 44-yard line made another acrobatic catch on an out route to the left side. The 22-yard pass from Shaw to Ellington gave the Gamecocks the foot-ball at the Wisconsin 22-yard line. Two plays later, Shaw connected with Ellington again for a 22-yard touchdown reception. Elling-tons second touchdown of the game gave the Gamecocks a 20-17 advantage and concluded a nine-play, 75-yard drive for South Carolina. The Gamecock scoring drive took 4:55 off the clock.

    The Gamecocks would extend their lead to 10 points at 27-17 shortly thereafter on a 3:09 scoring drive that was six plays and 74 yards. The big play of the drive was a 49-yard leaping catch made by Roland off a pass from Shaw. Jerell Adams picked up his second touchdown reception of the year quickly after the stellar catch from Roland as he caught a three-yard pass from Shaw.

    The 10-point advantage would not last long for the Gamecocks with Wisconsins Kenzel Doe returning the kickoff after the Gamecock touch-down. Does 91-yard return was the fourth-longest in Capital One Bowl history. It pulled the Badgers back to within three points at 27-24 with 10:54 to play in the contest.

    The Gamecocks would respond to the kickoff return touchdown by taking another 10-point lead at 34-24. A Shaw keeper up the middle into the end zone from one-yard out concluded a nine-play, 88-yard scoring drive for South Caro-lina. The drive took 5:06.

    Turnover prone Wisconsin could not get any closer down the stretch with the Gamecocks holding on for the 10-point win.

    South Carolina closed out its win over Wis-consin with 438 yards of total offense on 60 plays. Wisconsin finished with 410 yards of total offense on 69 plays.

    The Gamecocks threw for 321 yards in the game, while Wisconsin passed for 117 yards. Wisconsin rushed for 293 yards as a team in the game, while South Carolina accumulated 117 yards on the ground as a team.

    Gamecock quarterback Connor Shaw was named the Most Valuable Player of the Capi-tal One Bowl. He finished his final game in a Gamecock uniform with 312 yards passing, 47 yards rushing, three passing touchdowns, one rushing touchdown and a touchdown catch. Shaw was 22-for-25 passing in the Gamecock win.

    Wisconsin head coach Gary Andersen was very impressed with what Shaw brought to the table in the Gamecock win.

    We knew that coming in, Andersen mused. I saw it on tape. I heard about him from afar. He lived up to his billing. Just as impressive his ability to understand pressure, even when we got him tricked, running free hitters at him. Hes hard to get on the ground. He makes good decisions.

    Two Gamecocks finished with over 100 yards receiving with Ellington obtaining a career-best 140 yards receiving on six catches to go along with his two touchdown receptions. He also had the touchdown pass to Shaw.

    Roland concluded his day for the Gamecocks with six catches for 112 yards receiving.

    The Badgers were led by the running back tandem of Melvin Gordon and James White. Gordon picked up 143 yards rushing on 25 rush-es, while White rushed the football 12 times for 107 yards.

    Kaiwan Lewis led the Gamecocks in tackles in the contest with nine. He also had one fumble recovery and one interception. Jimmy Legree finished with eight tackles, including seven solo stops.

    Chris Borland led the Badgers in tackles with nine. He had eight solo tackles.

    Gamecocks capture third straight 11-win season

    photo by allen sharpe

  • January 8, 2014 Spurs & Feathers 3

    Spurs & FeathersPublished by Aiken Communications