SOUTH CAROLINA GAMECOCKS
Record: 5-1 (3-1 SEC)
It wasn’t until Connor Shaw got his second chance that the Gamecocks finally found something outside of Marcus Lattimore that worked in its offense. Stephen Garcia just didn’t cut it as the starter and coach Steve Spurrier had to make a change. Apparently, it was the right one as Shaw passed for 314 yards and four touchdowns against Kentucky in his second start of the year. Shaw got a shot early in the season, but after struggling against East Carolina, Garcia replaced him. Now, the offense is his and the next step is staying consistent under center.
Having a real threat to throw the ball should open things up more for Lattimore, something the Gamecocks need to have happen in order to get to the SEC title game. South Carolina’s defense has finally shown up as well. The first couple of weeks were rough for the Gamecocks’ defense, but after giving up 274 rushing yards in an uncomfortably close game to Navy in Week 3, South Carolina has allowed just 177 total yards per game and 22 total points. If the defense continues to play at such a high level and Shaw can run the offense efficiently, South Carolina certainly has the chance to make it back to Atlanta.
Offensive MVP: RB Marcus Lattimore. He’s making most of everyone’s Heisman Trophy lists at this point with his SEC-leading 779 rushing yards. He also has nine rushing touchdowns and another receiving. Lattimore is South Carolina’s ultimate work horse and if he struggles, so do the Gamecocks.
Defensive MVP: DE Melvin Ingram. It’s not every day that a defensive lineman has more touchdowns than the receivers on his team, but that’s exactly what Ingram did through the first five games. He had three scores, including a special teams touchdown when he took a run on a fake punt for 68 yards. He also has 27 tackles, including 7.5 for loss and a league-high 5.5 sacks. Ingram has two interceptions as well.