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      USC's Shaw hoping for happy homecoming

      COLUMBIA, SC (WACH) - The term home game is taking on a different meaning for 25 scholarship players at South Carolina when they travel to Athens to take on their home state Georgia Bulldogs.

      Quarterback Connor Shaw is one of them. He's set to get his first start in his home state Saturday after leading USC to a 35-7 thrashing of the Bulldogs at Williams-Brice Stadium last season.

      He did not play against Georgia in 2010, or in 2011 when South Carolina won a wild shootout 45-42 between the hedges.

      "I've been looking forward to this one for a while," said Shaw. "It's going to be exciting for us Georgia boys. We all know the importance of this game, so it's going to be an exciting game for us."

      Shaw, who grew up in Flowery Branch, did not grow up a fan of the Bulldogs. In fact, he says he was a fan of Florida when coach Steve Spurrier was tearing up the SEC as the head man for the Gators.

      The senior quarterback is 18-3 as a starter at USC and intends to add another win to his record.

      "I havenâ??t lost against Georgia, so it would be special for our seniors to go out 4-0 against them," said Shaw. "We'll just take it play-by-play and see how the game comes. Itâ??s a great rivalry. Itâ??s really intense. Weâ??ve got a lot of guys from Georgia, theyâ??ve got some guys from South Carolina, so itâ??s going to be a fun game for us."

      The Gamecocks are scheduled to return to the practice fields on Thursday afternoon.

      Saturday's kickoff in Athens is set for 4:30 p.m. Georgia has lost three straight to the Gamecocks, but leads the all-time series with a 46-17-2 edge over South Carolina.