The Missouri Tigers were strolling along Saturday night. They had won their first seven games of the season and were on a roll having just beaten Georgia and Florida. They took a 14-0 lead into half-time against South Carolina and expanded it to 17-0 in the third quarter. What could go wrong?
South Carolina started QB Dylan Thompson over an injured Connor Shaw. Thompson went 15 of 27 for 222 yards but was ineffective in finishing drives. Steve Spurrier turned to Shaw in the third quarter but was it too little, too late? On Shaw's first drive, the Gamecocks were forced to punt but then it all changed.
On Shaw's next three drives he led the Gamecocks to a TD, a FG and a game tying TD with under a minute left in the game forcing the game to overtime. In overtime, the teams traded TDs before South Carolina hit a FG in second OT. It was up to Missouri to score a TD to stay unbeaten or hit a FG to force a third OT. Missouri was held to a FG attempt of just 24 yards but the holder kept the laces of the ball in towards the kicker and the kicker plunked the ball off the upright.
It's hard to imagine one player making such a difference in a game but Connor Shaw really is the heart and soul of this South Carolina team. He might not have the best skill set in the SEC but you would be hard-pressed to find a better leader and player that teammates rally around. The Gamecocks rallied around Shaw on Saturday and he helped them come back from what looked like a sure defeat to give Missouri their first loss of the season. Missouri still controls their own destiny but one more conference loss and we could all be trying to figure out tie-breakers to decide the SEC East.