The Daily Gamecock

Freshmen take advantage of playing time

Shaw becomes school career-leader in victories

After the 70-10 squashing of Coastal Carolina on Saturday, coach Steve Spurrier said it was nice to put on a performance like that this late in the season, something the Gamecocks haven’t had since a 69-24 win against Troy in 2010.

When a team wins by 60 points, a variety of players tend to get their feet wet, and that was no different against the Chanticleers.

Perhaps the biggest beneficiary of increased playing time was receiver Pharoh Cooper, who had 42 yards and a diving touchdown catch early in the second quarter to put the Gamecocks up 35-0.

Spurrier also likes to use Cooper in the wildcat formation, and midway through the third quarter, the true freshman zipped his way to a 71-yard touchdown run out of the formation to give South Carolina a 56-7 lead.

They were Pharoh’s first two touchdowns as a Gamecock.

“It was a great feeling,” Cooper said. “I haven’t scored since last year in high school. (I’m) truly blessed just to get the opportunity to play at this level and get into the endzone. It put a smile on my face.”

Cooper wasn’t the only one to record his first career touchdown. Tailbacks Jamari Smith and Shon Carson also got into the endzone for the first time in their college careers.

When all was said and done, five different quarterbacks appeared in the game, four different tailbacks had a carry and 11 different receivers and tight ends caught passes.

Even walk-on tailback Devin Potter got a few carries late in the game.

“Troy (game) was the last time we were able to empty the bench and get everybody in and let everybody catch a pass and run the ball,” Spurrier said. “(Potter) is a walk-on player that really hustles and gives us a good pitch in practice every day.”

Shaw in unchartered territory

While he didn’t play much, senior quarterback Connor Shaw may have garnered the biggest accomplishment on the day. With the start and win, Shaw became the school leader in career wins with 25. Shaw’s record of 25-5 eclipsed former signal-caller Todd Ellis’ record of 24-16.

“I have to remind Todd, I didn’t know he had that many losses in all those years,” Spurrier said.

Shaw has a chance to extend the record with at least two — or maybe three — more games to be played.

After finally having the record, Shaw was able to reflect on it, but just for a moment before he deflected the attention back onto his team.

“Obviously, it’s pretty special to me,” Shaw said. “Just the way we did it today too, our whole offense did really great and it was fun to watch. It’s good that no one got hurt, so it was an overall good day for us.”

Brandon Wilds returns

Sophomore tailback Brandon Wilds picked a good time to come back from his assortment of injuries and immediately made an impact in the game. In his first carry since the UCF game, Wilds went for 27 yards. Four plays later, Wilds finished what he started, plunging it in from a yard out to give the Gamecocks a 42-0 lead.

“It felt great,” Wilds said. “I knew that when I got back into the game, I had to do something big.”


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