The Fighting Gamecocks have won in Charlotte despite falling behind 17 points quickly in the first quarter. Going into the week, head coach Steve Spurrier named Connor Shaw the starting QB over 5th year senior Stephen Garcia, despite being up for breaking the school record for most consecutive starts. If Shaw is allowed to play so he can gain some experience, he could be the better QB. Spurrier announced at the pep rally Thursday night in downtown Columbia that they would each get a quarter to play in the first half and he would decide at halftime who had, thus far, had an overall better game. The way Spurrier handled this, in my opinion, forced the fans to make a choice between the two QB's. Most thought that Garcia being a senior should start, because Shaw was still unproven in college game time experience. When Shaw starts, he needs to play longer than 15 minutes, in order to get into a rhythm and to settle his nerves down. Spurrier’s strategy was, in theory, a great one: test out each player at the given position and whomever performs to their best ability will be rewarded with more playing time. However, it only put Shaw into a lose-lose situation. The offensive line gave him no help in pass protection and opened no holes for Lattimore in the running game, and as a result Carolina was dominated by ECU with the 25 yd pass for touchdown in the first quarter. Yet still the first drive he moved the ball down the field despite several dropped balls by Jason Barnes, one that would have been a touchdown and another a first down. Shaw’s only personal mistake was a fumble. The ECU pirates surprised all Gamecock fans and players with their willingness to win in the first half, not only with the previous TD, but another 19 yd pass for TD, a 24 yd FG and also a 8 yd pass for TD, bringing the score to 24-14 at halftime. But it wasn’t all pirates for the quarter. The team fed off Garcia’s emotion and energy after he was finally brought in for his first drive of the game, contributing to two TD’s in the quarter. Garcia was 7-15 with 110 yds and one TD, and also ran for 2 scores including a 32td scamper. Gamecock fans now blame Shaw for being down 17-0 in the first quarter, but I totally disagree, because if he had stayed in the game, USC still could have won. Even after Garcia was in, it took him a few drives before he finally turned the game around. Connor Shaw is ready to play and the Gamecocks can win with him as starting QB, and they’ll have to rely on him unless they can recruit a new QB. He can make all the necessary throws, scramble when needed, and can lead the team, just as Garcia has been able to as well. His time will come again this season, possibly as soon as next week. In spite of this, I am very disappointed in some fans that I overheard while in the stands being overly critical. Shaw doesn’t deserve the backlash and harsh words that were said about him and/or his performance. He is a skilled football player (if he hadn’t been, he wouldn’t have been recruited) and a polite young man who works hard and represents the university in the right way. I would encourage fans to support both these quarterbacks because they will both be needed to have the year gamecock fans are expecting. If you still feel the need to be angry, then voice that to the coaches who make the decisions and don’t crucify the players, like Shaw, who only do as they’re told. So stay tuned, because this week will be a very interesting week to say the least.