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, including 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 its third consecutive bowl game to cap its third 11-win season in a row.
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 possibly face this season and that Wisconsin would be no different,” Shaw said. “I’m so glad the way we battled throughout the game and our defense came and played. I couldn’t be more proud.”
The game also turned out to be the final college contest for Jadeveon Clowney, who said afterward that he would forgo his senior season and enter the NFL draft.
“Before we even put the pads on, I thought we’ve only got 60 minutes and it’s over with. I’m going to be sad about it. ... I’m excited to move forward with my life though.”
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. 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 consecutive 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.
Gamecocks’ defensive end Victor Hampton, whose hit knocked Stave out of the game, confirmed afterward that he would enter the NFL draft. He said South Carolina’s defense displayed its true personality when it had to.
“That was a knock-down, drag out fight,” Hampton said. “They got some yards on us in the first half ... but in the second half, it was all over. We shut them down.”