Like everyone else, Steve Spurrier has seen the scarcity of Heisman Trophy candidates this season, and, on Tuesday, he offered a suggestion.
“Why not Connor Shaw for Heisman?” South Carolina’s coach asked.
Shaw, a senior quarterback who finished a 17-0 home career with a 31-17 win against Clemson last week, completed 61 percent of his passes for 2,135 yards, 21 touchdowns and one interception during the regular season.
“We just never have talked him up much,” Spurrier said. “He’s never had a bunch of 300-yard games. He did throw four touchdowns against Mississippi State. That was his only four-touchdown game.”
Shaw, who has won a school-record 26 games while losing five, lacks a marquee passing performance this season, but his cumulative numbers are noteworthy. He is 218 yards from having one of the top 10 passing seasons in school history, and his passer rating of 156.23 ranks 16th in the country.
“He’s done a lot,” Spurrier said. “He’s had a couple games that weren’t (great), but they were all away from home. Heck, we are 10-2. All those other guys have lost at least one.”
Shaw is the only quarterback in the nation to throw more than nine touchdowns while having one or fewer interceptions, and Spurrier called him the best quarterback in school history following the Clemson game. Shaw’s yards per attempt (8.2) rank 25th in the country, and his passing is not his greatest asset for the Gamecocks, Spurrier said.
“We don’t beat Clemson without him. Quarterback draw is the only run play we had,” Spurrier said. “They stuffed us up front. We couldn’t block those guys.”
Shaw has rushed for 511 yards and five touchdowns this season and ranks 25th in the SEC in rushing yards.
Shaw is not receiving any first-place votes this week in polls of Heisman voters conducted by The State or by HeismanPundit.com. Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston is the favorite, but Winston could be facing sexual assault charges before the Heisman votes are due on Dec. 9. Former frontrunners such as Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel, Baylor quarterback Bryce Petty and Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariotta have had slow finishes to the season.
“It seems like, right now, with the Winston kid with his legal problems, people are wondering who to vote for.” Spurrier said.
The State’s Heisman poll
With less than a week before Heisman Trophy votes are due, Florida State freshman quarterback Jameis Winston is the favorite in The State’s weekly poll for the fourth consecutive week. Winston, who got 10 of 13 first-place votes, has led the Seminoles to the No. 1 spot in the BCS rankings with the ACC championship game against Duke left to play. Northern Illinois quarterback Jordan Lynch jumped into second place after a big rushing game last week for the unbeaten Huskies. (Compiled by Neil White)
1. JAMEIS WINSTON, QB, Florida State, 53 (10)*
2. JORDAN LYNCH, QB, Northern Illinois, 20 (1)*
3. JOHNNY MANZIEL, QB, Texas A&M, 19
4. ANDRE WILLIAMS, RB, Boston College, 17
5. A.J. MCCARRON, QB, Alabama, 16 (1)*
6. BRYCE PETTY, QB, Baylor, 14
7. CARLOS HYDE, RB, Ohio State, 9 (1)
7. BRAXTON MILLER, QB, Ohio State, 9
9. AARON DONALD, DT, Pitt, 7
10. CONNOR SHAW, QB, USC, 6
*(FIRST-PLACE VOTES). ** TIED