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"Inside The Chart" with Andy Demetra - September 22, 2012

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Connor Shaw swears he's had better days.  As a senior at Flowery Branch (Ga.) HS, Shaw said he completed 18-of-18 passes in a game against Lumpkin County HS. 

Okay, that's not entirely true.  A quick Internet search reveals he only completed 15-of-16 passes in a 35-7 win. 

Forgive Shaw for his less-than-perfect memory.  Almost everything else about his night was the opposite.    

Shaw vs. Mizzou.jpegIn a week that saw his right shoulder scrutinized - and perhaps even his effectiveness questioned - Shaw answered with a resounding, record-setting performance in Carolina's 31-10 win over Missouri.  The junior completed 20-of-21 passes (95.2%) for 249 yards, breaking Gordon Beckham's 31 year-old school record for completion percentage.  His 20 consecutive strikes tied the second-longest streak in SEC history.  And his most impressive play, a winding, 80-yard touchdown run in the 2nd quarter, won't even show up in the box score because of a penalty.

Pardon the pun, but the guy showed he can shoulder an offense. 

"Notes, Quotes, and Anecdotes" from Missouri's SEC initiation at Williams-Brice Stadium:

More on Shaw:  Shaw, who said he felt no pain when he threw, kept Missouri in check with a barrage of short throws, dump-offs, and underneath routes.  Of his 21 pass attempts, only two traveled farther than 10 yards in the air. 

With the way Missouri presented its defense, Shaw said he had no incentive to do anything else.

"We knew coming into the game that they were going to drop into a big zone.  They played like that against other teams, and they were going to stay true to it.  I think we did a good job of completing balls underneath and making them make plays," Shaw told me. 

The box score backs him up.  A remarkable 15 of his 20 completions went to non-wide receivers (10 to running backs and fullbacks, 5 to tight ends).

Quote of the Week:  "I don't think I've even hit him in practice."

-Shaw, cracking a smile, on senior Qua Gilchrist.  You know you're in a zone when you're completing balls to the fullback.  The underappreciated Gilchrist did his best Patrick Dimarco pantomime, catching his first career pass from Shaw in the 2nd quarter. 

Cavorting Catching With The Enemy:  Junior Ace Sanders used a hometown connection -- and a family hookup -- to improve his skills in the offseason.  The Gamecock wideout spent part of his summer training at IMG Academies in his native Bradenton, Fla., where he caught passes from none other than Carolina Panthers quarterback -- and South Carolina arch-nemesis -- Cam Newton.  Sanders also ran skeleton drills against NFL cornerbacks, including New York Giants six-year veteran Michael Coe.  He got the invitation thanks to his cousin, current Dallas Cowboys defensive back Mike Jenkins.

Even Newton would have approved of Sanders' gecko-handed, 23-yard touchdown grab late in the 1st half to put Carolina ahead 21-3.  Sanders said his time at IMG helped him refine his pre-catch techniques.


Ace Sanders vs. Mizzou.jpeg

Ace Sanders hangs on for a 23-yard touchdown catch against Missouri.

"It gave me a feel of what that next level might be like," Sanders told me.  "As soon as you turn your head, the ball is there.  You have to be ready getting in and out of your breaks."

The training paid off on his touchdown.  Recognizing a cover-one, bump-and-run coverage, Shaw said he lofted the ball to Sanders before he made his cut.  Sanders, having jetted past 1st Team All-Big XII cornerback E.J. Gaines, was ready for it.

Foreshadowing:  Sanders toted around a pair of 3D glasses after the game.  His Friday night movie of choice was "Dredd." 

That may have also described what Missouri special-teamers felt when they saw him line up for punts.

A New Spin:  Jadeveon Clowney continued his "Unstoppable Force Tour of 2012," blasting through a battered Missouri offensive line for 1.5 sacks and 4 tackles.  Most jaw-dropping was his inside spin move and sack of Tigers quarterback James Franklin in the third quarter.  Clowney took one step to his right, then whirled around Missouri left tackle Justin Britt.  Franklin stepped up, trying to evade the pocket, but Clowney and Aldrick Fordham wrapped him up for a loss. 

Clowney vs. Mizzou.jpegClowney said he learned the spin from a pretty talented technician.

"I've been working on that since I got to college," Clowney said afterwards.  "I learned that from Melvin Ingram when he was here.  I took that out of his little playbook."

Jadeveon Clowney (right) had another monster day against Missouri.

Tackling The Job:  Steve Spurrier alluded on "Carolina Calls" to a change on the offensive line.  Assistant Shawn Elliott made it official Saturday, giving 6'8," 337-pound "Condo" Corey Robinson his first start at left tackle and moving sophomore Mike Matulis back to right tackle.

But as Marcus Lattimore explained, the Gamecocks had no designs on hiding their young tackles. 

"The play that was hitting the most was an outside-zone play.  We pull two offensive linemen [center and guard] depending on what front [the Tigers] were in.  It's just a play to stretch them out," Lattimore said.  With the center and guard pulling toward the tackles, Lattimore grinded out 85 rushing yards.

And it wasn't just run-blocking either:  the Gamecock offensive line allowed a season-low one sack.

Credit To:  Gamecocks spur DeVonte Holloman.  In our pre-game radio interview, Holloman acknowledged his job would be magnified because of Franklin's dual threat ability.  "It makes it tougher.  You've got play pass, but at the same time you have to worry about the run," he said.  The senior responded with 7 tackles, exceeding his season total of 6.

And Finally... Missouri led 20-17 late in the third quarter against Georgia.  In their next four quarters of SEC play, the Tigers were outscored 49-3.

Join us next week as we begin our chart prep for Kentucky.  Thanks for diving "Inside The Chart."  --AD--

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