ORLANDO, Fla. – South Carolina quarterback Connor Shaw’s career has been marked by a mix of special moments and others he’d like to forget.
He made sure his final game was one he’ll be able to savor.
Shaw was responsible for five touchdowns, three passing, and No. 8 South Carolina outlasted No. 19 Wisconsin 34-24 in the Capital One Bowl on Wednesday.
The Gamecocks’ senior was named the game’s MVP after picking apart the Badgers defense, completing 22 of 25 passes for 312 yards. Shaw also had scores rushing and receiving. South Carolina (11-2) won a third straight bowl to cap its third straight 11-win season.
After untimely injuries and losses culminated in the Gamecocks missing a spot in the BCS, Shaw said this performance offered some redemption.
“I told the team before the game that we’ve faced every possible scenario we could face this season and that Wisconsin would be no different,” he said. “I’m so glad the way we battled throughout the game and our defense came and played. I couldn’t be more proud.”
It also turned out to be the final college game for Gamecocks defensive ends Jadeveon Clowney and Victor Hampton, who said afterward they would forgo their senior seasons to enter the NFL draft.
Bruce Ellington caught six passes for 140 yards and two touchdowns. Shaw Roland also hauled in six catches for 112 yards.
“The guys, we came together as a team today and Connor did a great job of leading us,” Ellington said. “We just came out and played.”
Shaw’s receivers caught balls in traffic and in the open field, gashing a Wisconsin defense that surrendered 438 yards for the game. The Badgers also allowed two fourth-down conversions, one which set up a 22-yard touchdown pass from Shaw to Ellington that put the Gamecocks up for good late in the third quarter.
Wisconsin (9-4) lost its fourth straight bowl game, failing to capitalize on 100-yard rushing games from both Melvin Gordon and James White, and struggling after quarterback Joel Stave left in the third quarter with a shoulder injury. Backup Curt Phillips was intercepted twice.
While the Gamecocks couldn’t contain the Badgers’ rushing attack for most of the game, Shaw and his receivers did plenty to keep South Carolina productive on offense.
“We were very good defensively in the fourth quarter. It was a fourth-quarter game,” South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier said.
“That was a knock-down, drag out fight,” said Hampton. “Everybody was saying we couldn’t stop the run, but we showed them different.”
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