If a quarterback could draw up the perfect game plan on which to end his career, the day USC’s Connor Shaw had against Wisconsin would be a good blueprint. Shaw beat the Badgers with his arm, his legs and his hands in leading his team to a 34-24 victory in the Capital One Bowl in Orlando and the Gamecocks’ third straight New Year’s Day bowl victory in Florida.
Shaw was 22-25 thru the air for 312 yards and 3 touchdowns. He also caught a 9 yard scoring pass and he scored on a one yard sneak while rushing for 47 yards. The only flaw to his performance was a lost fumble early in the third quarter which the Badgers failed to convert into points.
Shaw, of course, had help. Bruce Ellington not only tossed the scoring pass to Shaw, he caught two touchdown passes from him. Ellington, in what may have been his last game at USC, had 6 catches for 140 yards. Shaq Roland also stood out with 6 catches for 112 yards.
The Gamecock defense had its hands full with Wisconsin’s running game. The Badgers did rush for 293 yards with Melvin Gordon gaining 143 yards and James White 107, but the USC defense did make some big plays in the second half, not the least of which was a big hit by Vic Hampton on Wisconsin quarterback Joel Stave that knocked Stave out of the game.
The Gamecocks also stopped Gordon on a fourth and one at the Gamecock 26 and came up with two interceptions and a fumble recovery on Wisconsin’s final three possessions.
USC ends the season 11-2 for the third straight season. That means the Gamecocks have gone 33-6 over the past three seasons, by far the most successful stretch in school history.