COLUMBIA, S.C. — Connor Shaw is the winningest starting quarterback in South Carolina history. Teammate and backup Dylan Thompson believes his buddy, Shaw, should also take a place with the best players in the country.
“In my opinion, (Shaw) should be in New York in December” as a Heisman Trophy finalist, said Thompson, who passed for two TDs and ran for a third.
Shaw passed for a touchdown and ran for a score in less than a quarter of work and No. 12 South Carolina scored the most points in Steve Spurrier’s nine seasons as coach in a 70-10 victory over Coastal Carolina on Saturday.
The Gamecocks (9-2) scored on their first six possessions and surpassed their output from a 69-24 win over Troy in 2010. And it came with South Carolina resting several starters for rival Clemson next Saturday night, including defensive linemen Jadeveon Clowney and Kelcy Quarles and the Southeastern Conference’s leading rusher in Mike Davis.
Shaw has been banged up this year, too, but doesn’t want to miss any more moments in his senior season and led the Gamecocks to their record 17th straight game at home. He improved to 25-5 as a starter, moving past Todd Ellis’ wins mark from 1986-89.
Shaw was happy with the record and even happier about the offense putting up a season high 639 yards.
“Obviously, this is pretty special to me and just the way we did it, too,” Shaw said. “The whole offense played well.”
For Spurrier, it was his 75th win in nine seasons as Gamecocks coach and moved him to 48-0 against teams from outside BCS automatic qualifying conferences.
The news wasn’t all bad for Coastal Carolina (10-2). The Chanticleers learned before halftime they shared a Big South championship and earned the league’s FCS playoff bid.
Liberty’s 56-14 victory over Charleston Southern locked up the automatic playoff spot for the Chants, its second straight under coach Joe Moglia.
“We wish Coastal the very best in the playoffs. From what I heard, they’re the Big South champions,” Spurrier said. “That’s something we hope to do someday. And we’re still alive this year, so who knows.”
Should No. 8 Missouri lose at Ole Miss on Saturday night, the Gamecocks would win Southeastern Conference’s Eastern Division and head to the championship game at the Georgia Dome in two weeks.
The Gamecocks finished SEC play last week at 6-2, a game behind Missouri in the East. The Tigers, though, have two more league games left, playing No. 9 Texas A&M and defending Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel after facing the Rebels.
South Carolina would advance with a Missouri loss because of the Gamecocks’ 27-24, double-overtime win there on Oct. 26 meaning.
Spurrier won’t be plopped in front of a TV sweating out the result, though. He says he’ll go watch grandson Davis play quarterback at Hammond High and maybe catch the end once he returns home.
“Whatever happens with those games, we have no control. We’ll read about in the paper,” Spurrier said.
The Chants had hopes of putting on a strong show against South Carolina, but got overwhelmed from the start as the Gamecocks scored touchdowns on their first six possessions.
Coastal Carolina managed just 39 yards the first three times it had the ball and trailed 28-0 in the first quarter.
Spurrier said Clowney, Quarles and Davis all could’ve played in this one and will be on the field when the Gamecocks try for their unprecedented fifth straight victory over Clemson.
“I need a healthy Jadeveon next week,” Gamecocks defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward said.
Clowney had 4 1-2 sacks on Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd in last year’s 27-17 South Carolina rivalry win and has pledged that he’ll never lose to the Tigers.
Shaw took care of things early, connecting with Shaq Roland for a 35-yard TD less than six minutes in. Reserve tailback Jamari Smith scored on a 3-yard run a series later and Shaw had a 1-yard scoring run set up by Coastal’s fumble — the Chanticleers came in with only three fumbles lost all year — to lead 21-0.
Coastal Carolina finally broke through for points late in the half, quarterback Alex Ross scrambling free of defenders on fourth down and connecting with Lorenzo Taliaferro for a 1-yard touchdown pass.
“At the end of the first quarter when it was 28-0, we realized these guys were better than Presbyterian,” Coastal’s Big South rival, Chanticleers coach Joe Moglia said.
Moglia, the one-time CEO at TD Ameritrade, pulled many starters in the second half to rest for the playoffs, something he said he’d do if things got out of hand.
Coastal finished with 294 yards and Taliaferro, who was fifth in the FCS rushing with 1,466 yards and had 23 touchdowns, was held to 21 yards.