Friday, February 23, 2018
Sports

SEC goes right hereyyy

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Leave it to Steve Spurrier to focus on Connor Shaw's one mistake.

"Well, he got off to a slow start," South Carolina's coach said with a grin. "He missed his first one, I think." Spurrier went on to call Shaw's performance "sensational."

Shaw was perfect after his first miss completing his final 20 passes for 252 yards and two touchdowns in the seventh-ranked Gamecocks 31-10 victory over Missouri on Saturday.

The Tigers' first SEC road game didn't go any better than their first at home.

"We wanted to prove what the SEC was all about," Shaw said.

Spurrier, notoriously harsh on quarterbacks, gave Shaw a game ball and plenty of praise after a performance that left the junior tied for second all-time in the SEC for consecutive completions.

Marcus Lattimore ran for two touchdowns to set another school record as the Gamecocks moved to 4-0 for the ninth time in 119 years.

Shaw had played less than two quarters the past two games, dealing with a hairline fracture in his right throwing shoulder.

"I just found a groove and stayed with it," said Shaw, 11-1 as a starter.

Shaw's "our leader, he's consistent. He stays in the pocket when he has to, he runs when he has to," Lattimore said. "He's a complete quarterback."

Shaw was on target after that early incompletion to Lattimore and showed no discomfort from the injury. His consecutive passes streak was second in SEC history to Tennessee's Tee Martin, who completed 23 in a row against the Gamecocks in 1998.

Shaw also ran for 41 yards.

Lattimore rushed for 85 yards. His touchdowns gave him South Carolina's career mark with 33 rushing scores, a record Lattimore shared with Heisman Trophy winner George Rogers and Harold Green. Last week, Lattimore set the school's all-time total touchdown mark, also surpassing Rogers and Green.

Missouri struggled against a Gamecocks defense that has given up three touchdowns all year and hadn't yielded a TD from 20 yards and in until the Tigers scoring pass at the end. Missouri had a season-low 255 yards.

Through three quarters, South Carolina had more yards on seven kick returns (156) than the Tigers had on 41 offensive plays (151). Missouri was in danger of being held without a touchdown for the first time since 2005 before a 1-yard scoring pass with 17 seconds left.

"Our focus wasn't good enough and that's coaching so that was my fault," Missouri coach Gary Pinkel said. "I was very disappointed in how we played."

Starting quarterback James Franklin was back after missing last week's win over Arizona State because of a shoulder problem. He had 92 yards passing and was sacked three times.

"I don't even know how many times we gave ourselves a chance to make plays," Missouri receiver T.J. Moe said. "We were dropping balls all over the place and not making plays. We were so bad offensively, we didn't put ourselves in position to make plays. That's hard to do."

At one point, fans at sold-out Williams-Brice broke out the "S-E-C" chant as the Missouri defense left the field.

"I think it was evident we were a little stronger than Missouri," Spurrier said. "Our defensive guys were really fast out there. It was just a real good win for us."

Kentucky is next for South Carolina, then No. 5 Georgia comes into Williams-Brice Stadium for one of the most anticipated games in the SEC East.

no. 1 alabama 40, FAU 7: AJ McCarron threw three touchdowns, including an early 85-yarder to Kenny Bell, and the host Crimson Tide won big.

Eddie Lacy rushed for 106 yards in the first half for Alabama, which rolled to 134 consecutive points and two shutouts before allowing a late touchdown.

The Owls had one first down through three quarters and were outgained 503-110 in total yards. They were coming off a 56-20 loss to Georgia.

"That's not Georgia we faced today, that's Alabama — it's very different,'' FAU coach Carl Pelini said. "Different scheme-wise. I think they're more physical than Georgia. They play differently. They pressure more than Georgia did. They're physical in their man coverage."

McCarron was 15-of-25 passing for 212 yards before leaving midway through the third quarter. The 85-yarder is tied for the fifth-longest touchdown pass in Tide history.

The only suspense late was whether Alabama could complete a third straight shutout for the first time since Bear Bryant's unbeaten 1966 team.

"We try to pride ourselves always on people not scoring on our defense," Alabama cornerback Dee Milliner said. "That's a big accomplishment for us. They got in, at the end, one touchdown, but we still had a great game."

mississippi 39, tulane 0: Jeff Scott ran for two touchdowns and the visiting Rebels piled up 304 yards rushing. The Ole Miss defense, seeking redemption after yielding 66 points in a loss to Texas a week earlier, allowed 159 yards, putting constant pressure on freshman quarterback Devin Powell. Making his first start, Powell was sacked three times and threw three interceptions, and the Green Wave had 14 rushing yards in its 13th straight loss dating to last season. "One goal for the week was getting a shutout and that's exactly what every defensive player wanted to do," said Ole Miss linebacker Denzel Nkemdiche, who had an interception. "It was big-time for us. We need this confidence." Playing for the first time since safety Devon Walker fractured his spine at Tulsa on Sept. 8, Tulane wore his No. 18 on its helmets, and the Rebels had "DW" stickers on their helmets. "It was very emotional," said Tulane's Darion Monroe, normally a cornerback who took over Walker's safety spot. "We wanted to win this game for him. It's unfortunate that we couldn't do it."

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