With its most highly anticipated season in history laying flat on its back and its starting quarterback on the sideline with his arm in a sling, South Carolina put the game on the outsized shoulders of Mike Davis.
The sophomore running back responded, powering the No. 12 Gamecocks to a 28-25 come-from-behind win over UCF in front of 47,605 fans at Bright House Networks Stadium.
While the Gamecocks (3-1) escaped a classic trap game – on the road against a little-known but capable American Athletic Conference team – they left central Florida with plenty of questions. The most pressing is: Who will play quarterback next week against Kentucky in Williams-Brice Stadium?
Shaw, a senior on pace for his best season, suffered a right shoulder sprain when he was hit by UCF linebacker Terrance Plumber, forcing a fumble that ended South Carolina’s first drive of the game. Later in the game, backup tailback Brandon Wilds left the game with a sprained left elbow.
By that time, though, the Gamecocks needed only one back – Davis. South Carolina, which was ranked a program-high No. 6 in the preseason, trailed 10-0 after a first half in which Davis had five carries for 17 yards.
South Carolina took the ball to start the second half and went from its traditional shotgun-base offense to the I-formation. The result was 21 carries for 149 yards and three touchdowns in the second half for Davis.