Connor Shaw opened South Carolina’s second scrimmage of the fall with a bang but then left it with a wince.
The Gamecocks’ sophomore quarterback, who is trying to unseat senior Stephen Garcia as the starter, threw a 70-yard touchdown pass to Jason Barnes on the first play but couldn’t finish the Wednesday night practice after dislocating the thumb on his throwing hand.
“His thumb sort of popped out of joint briefly, but he got it back in. He said that’s happened before and it shouldn’t bother him, so hopefully he’ll be OK in two or three days,” head coach Steve Spurrier said. “We’ll just have to wait and see.”
Shaw was just starting to make the competition interesting. He also had an 80-yard touchdown pass to Damiere Byrd and finished 6-for-11 for 192 yards, two touchdowns and an interception while playing with the first team.
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“Connor was scheduled to start this one,” Spurrier said. “Stephen started the last one so Connor played with the guys Stephen played with in the last scrimmage, and Stephen played with the guys Connor played with. We are trying to get a good evaluation on them.”
A crowd of several thousand watched the workout at Williams-Brice Stadium despite the fact that Spurrier made the decision to open it to the public just hours before it began.
Shaw was not made available to speak to the media after the scrimmage.
Garcia started the scrimmage with the second-teamers but took Shaw’s spot with the starters in the second half of the practice and finished 8-for-13 for 128 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions.
“It was pretty decent; we moved the ball on them,” Garcia said. “We had some time to throw back there and the receivers made some great catches.”
Garcia is trying not to think much about the quarterback competition, he said.
“I’ve been in a quarterback competition since I’ve been here really,” he said. “Nothing has changed. It is what it is. I just come out here and practice what I can do and try to get better every day.”
Garcia’s touchdown came on a 23-yard pass to Ace Sanders on what was a big offensive night for the Gamecocks. Wide receivers DeAngelo Smith and K.J. Brent caught touchdown passes, and freshman running back Shon Carson had a 16-yard touchdown run.
“Stephen threw some good balls there at the end,” Spurrier said. “We’ll look at all the stats from the first scrimmage and the second scrimmage, add them all up and see where we are (with the quarterback competition). They’re both doing pretty well.”
South Carolina gave its two offensive stars an easy night. Wide receiver Alshon Jeffery had a few passes directed his way but did not have a catch. Running back Marcus Lattimore didn’t have a carry or a reception and was only on the field two plays.
The defensive highlight of the night was a 22-yard fumble recovery for a touchdown by freshman defensive end Jadeveon Clowney on a ball that came out of Garcia’s hands.
“Clowney had some good plays here and there,” Spurrier said. “We found out we should not try to run a reverse around his side. He can chase them down as soon as he sees it. That lost about 5 yards.”
The defense also got interceptions from Corey Addison, Marty Markett and Kadetrix Marcus.
“We had some encouraging plays and we had some sorry plays also,” Spurrier said. “Defense had a lot of good plays here and there. They were hustling around, so it was overall I think a pretty good scrimmage.”