Gamecocks Come Up Short at LSU, 23-21
BATON ROUGE, La. —
Third-ranked South Carolina was unable to overcome a late nine-point
deficit at LSU on Saturday night, as the No. 9/8 Tigers held on to
claim a 23-21 victory over the Gamecocks at Tiger Stadium.
The loss snaps a school-record 10-game winning streak for the
Gamecocks, who fall to 6-1 overall and 4-1 in the SEC. LSU improves to
6-1 on the season and 2-1 in conference play.
South Carolina held a 14-10 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
However, the Tigers made a pair of field goals in the final stanza to
take the lead for good, and a 50-yard touchdown run by Jeremy Hill
pushed LSU’s lead to 23-14 with 5:03 remaining.
The Gamecocks refused to go down, as junior quarterback Connor Shaw
guided the offense on a 12-play, 91-yard scoring drive capped by a
1-yard touchdown pass to Bruce Ellington to trim LSU’s lead to 23-21
with 1:41 remaining. The South Carolina defense then forced a
three-and-out, but LSU’s Craig Loston came up with an interception on
the ensuing possession to seal the win.
South Carolina finished the night with 211 yards of offense, while LSU
accumulated 407 yards. Shaw completed 19-of-34 passes for 177 yards and
two scores and had two interceptions. Junior Ace Sanders tied a career
high with five receptions for 49 yards and a touchdown to lead the
Junior running back Marcus Lattimore wrapped up the contest with 35 yards and a touchdown on 13 carries.
Defensively, senior linebacker Shaq Wilson recorded a career-high 14
tackles and a sack to lead the way. Senior safety D.J. Swearinger and
sophomore Victory Hampton added 10 tackles apiece.
Hill led the Tigers’ attack with 17 carries for 124 yards and two touchdowns.
The Gamecock defense came up big on LSU’s first drive of the game, as
the Tigers drove down to the South Carolina 2-yard line. On
third-and-goal, Gamecock linebackers Wilson and Reginald Bowens stood
up Tiger running back Kenny Hilliard at the 1-yard line. After a false
start penalty on fourth down moved the ball back to the 6-yard line,
the Tigers were forced to settle for a 23-yard field goal by Drew
Alleman to take a 3-0 lead with 5:32 left in the first quarter.
South Carolina’s offense stalled on its second drive of the contest,
but the defense provided one of the biggest plays of the night on the
ensuing possession. On second-and-seven from the South Carolina 34,
junior cornerback Jimmy Legree stepped in front of a Zach Mettenberger
pass at the 29 and returned the interception 70 yards to the LSU 1.
Shaw and the offense took advantage of the momentum-changing play. On
second-and-goal from the 2, Shaw rolled right and connected with
Sanders for a 2-yard touchdown pass, giving the Gamecocks a 7-3 lead
with 14:54 left in the half.
LSU went on another lengthy drive following the Gamecocks’ score, but
once again the South Carolina defense stood tall in the red zone and
forced a fourth-and-10 from the South Carolina 15. Alleman entered to
attempt a 32-yard field goal but he missed it wide left, as the
Gamecocks held on to their 7-3 lead the remainder of the half.
The teams battled back and forth in the second half. LSU opened the
half with a nine-play, 69-yard scoring drive capped by a 7-yard
touchdown run by Hill, giving the Tigers a 10-7 lead at the 11:13 mark
of the third quarter.
The Gamecocks answered late in the third quarter with a five-play,
39-yard scoring drive. A 30-yard pass from Shaw to tight end Justice
Cunningham set South Carolina up at the LSU 2. From there, Lattimore
burst into the end zone for a 2-yard touchdown run, as the Gamecocks
took a 14-10 lead with 5:11 left in the quarter.
The Tigers pulled to within 14-13 early in the fourth quarter, as a
20-yard field goal by Alleman capped a 16-play, 75-yard drive.
LSU’s Eric Reid intercepted Shaw on the ensuing possession and returned
it 29 yards to the Gamecock 22, setting up a 22-yard field goal by
Alleman that gave LSU the lead for good with 6:37 left in the contest.