With its starting quarterback struggling, South Carolina inserted backup Connor Shaw in the third quarter with the Gamecocks trailing No. 5 Missouri by 17 points.
Shaw, hobbled by a sprained left knee, engineered three fourth-quarter drives and helped South Carolina score on their final five possessions to stun Missouri, 27-24, in two overtimes and earn selection as the Week 9 winner of the United States Sports Academy’s College Football Game of the Year contest.
Shaw had asked Coach Steve Spurrier if he could play and when given the chance he delivered, throwing for 201 yards and three touchdowns in relief. He generated drives of 65, 69 and 63 yards in the 4th-quarter to help put South Carolina within a game of leading the Southeastern Conference’s East Division.
The incredible comeback was complete when Missouri (7-1, 3-1) missed a 24-yard FG attempt off the left upright in the second overtime. Meanwhile, South Carolina’s (6-2, 4-2) kicker Elliott Fry calmly drilled a 40-yard field goal for the game-winner.
A national panel of experts selects the weekly winner of the Academy’s College Football Game of the Year Contest. Each week’s winner is considered for the award honoring the best College Football Game of the Year at the end of the season. Last season’s winner was Texas A&M’s 29-24 shocking upset of Alabama in a Southeastern Conference showdown.
This committee is currently chaired by Jack Lengyel, the former athletic director at the United States Naval Academy. Lengyel was also a college football coach best known for being the head coach who resurrected the Marshall University football program, as depicted in the 2006 film, “We Are Marshall.”
Daniel Moore, the American Sports Art Museum and Archives (ASAMA) 2005 Sport Artist of the Year, is commissioned by the Academy each year to create a painting honoring the selected College Football Game of the Year. The Academy, also known as America’s Sports University, donates the painting and $5,000 to the general scholarship fund of the annual winner.
The United States Sports Academy is an independent, non-profit, accredited, special mission sports university created to serve the nation and world with programs in instruction, research, and service. The role of the Academy is to prepare men and women for careers in the profession of sports. For more information about the Academy, call 251-626-3303 or visit www.ussa.edu.