By Pete Iacobelli
AP Sports Writer
COLUMBIA, S.C. – Connor Shaw threw for four touchdowns, Mike Davis ran for 128 yards to move past 1,000 yards this season and No. 14 South Carolina tied a school record with its 15th straight home victory, 34-16 over Mississippi State on Saturday.
Shaw matched his personal best for TD throws after missing two days of practice with a virus. Davis, the SEC’s leading rusher, had his seventh game reaching the century mark and became the team’s first 1,000-yard rusher since Marcus Lattimore gained 1,197 yards his freshman season three years ago.
South Carolina (7-2, 5-2 Southeastern Conference) won its seventh in row over the Bulldogs (4-4, 1-3) and tied the record for consecutive victories at Wlliams-Brice Stadium, equaling the mark set from 1978-80. The Gamecocks will get the chance to break the record in two weeks when they close league play at home against Florida.
Bulldogs sophomore Dak Prescott threw three interceptions — he had just three in seven games coming in — and had a fumble that led to 20 points by the Gamecocks.
Shaw didn’t have his most accurate game (10 of 20 for 147 yards), but made his throws count as South Carolina kept its SEC Eastern Division hopes alive.
The Gamecocks still need help from Missouri and Georgia to make the Georgia Dome next month. They should have some friendly confines to make a run, though, as they finish the season with home games against Florida, Coastal Carolina and Clemson after a week off.
South Carolina’s home streak is the second current longest in the country behind Michigan’s 19 in a row.
Shaw, who threw for 201 yards and three TDs after entering in the third quarter last Saturday, had missed practice Monday and Tuesday with a virus. And he looked a bit off early as Mississippi State stuffed the Gamecocks on the opening series before jumping on top on Prescott’s 1-yard run. Prescott set up the touchdown two plays earlier with a 14-yard run to the South Carolina 1.
South Carolina quickly answered back, Shaw connecting with Roland on a 14-yard touchdown pass to tie things.
The Gamecocks took advantage of Prescott’s mistake for their next TD, linebacker Skai Moore collecting the tipped pass at the Bulldogs 46. Three plays later, Shaw and Roland hooked up again, this time for a 43 yard pass as the Gamecocks sophomore receiver slipped from a tackler to run uncontested the final 20 yards.
South Carolina’s defense rattled Prescott into a second interception on the next possession — by linebacker T.J. Holloman. But Shaw lost two yards on first down, didn’t see a wide open Rory Anderson in the end zone on second down and threw incomplete while being chased by defenders on third down, and the Gamecocks settled for Elliott Fry’s career long 44-yard field goal to go up 17-7.
Two plays into the second half, Prescott was crunched by defensive end Chaz Sutton and fumbled to Sharrod Golightly. Shaw capitalized with a 6-yard touchdown throw to Damiere Byrd.
Shaw got his final scoring pass on the Gamecocks next series, finding Jerell Adams for a four-yard TD to go ahead 31-10. The pass tied Shaw’s mark from 2011 when he had four touchdown throws in a 54-3 win over Kentucky — his first game after taking over the starting job from Stephen Garcia.
Shaw has since become 23-5 as a starter and is win away from matching Todd Ellis’ school mark for victories.