(Saturday, October 18th)
Final Score: (13) LSU 24, South Carolina 17
Columbia, SC (Sports Network) - Charles Scott scored two rushing touchdowns, and Andrew Hatch threw for another as the 13th-ranked LSU Tigers survived the gritty South Carolina Gamecocks with a 24-17 victory at Williams-Brice Stadium.
Scott scored the game-winning touchdown late in the fourth and racked up 61 yards on 16 carries while Keiland Williams garnered 72 yards on 15 carries. Hatch completed only 2-of-3 passes in limited action, but came up with the a game-tying TD pass late in the third quarter to Richard Dickson.
Jarrett Lee started under center for LSU and hit on 16-of-26 pass attempts for 189 yards with one interception. Brandon LaFell caught four balls for 55 yards and Demetrius Byrd hauled in three catches for 65 yards for the Tigers (5-1, 3-1), who were fresh off their first loss of the season, a thorough 51-21 beating by the Florida Gators.
"We were trying to get a nasty taste in our mouth over with from last week," Tigers head coach Les Miles explained. "The situation and how we played Florida didn't settle well with us. It will be something we'll remember for some time. I think this was certainly the way to put it in the rearview mirror."
Stephen Garcia, the redshirt freshman, made his first start for the Gamecocks and was poised in throwing for 215 yards and a score on 14-of-26 pass attempts. However, he threw a costly pick late in the game after LSU took the lead.
Mike Davis scored on the ground but gained only 23 yards for a South Carolina running game that was held to 39 yards rushing. Kenny McKinley had four receptions for 77 yards and Jared Cook caught five passes for 74 yards for the Gamecocks (6-2, 2-3), who had won four consecutive decisions since losing two of three outings to open the season.
"It was a tough night, we had our chances," Gamecock head coach Steve Spurrier said. "Our defense played really well. We had some chances there in the second half."
Garcia replaced ineffective starter Chris Smelley, who started last week's win over Kentucky but completed just 9-of-23 passes for 105 yards with two interceptions.
"We put the ball in the hands of a freshman quarterback who hadn't started before, and it didn't work out how we wanted," Spurrier added.
After the Tigers evened the score at 17-17 late in the third, LSU embarked on a game-altering 11-play, 83-yard scoring drive that ate up 6:24 of the fourth quarter clock.
Lee hit LaFell for 16 yards right out of the gate and later connected with Byrd for 35 yards to move to the Gamecock 20. Scott gained six yards on 3rd- and-1, and when faced with a 3rd-and-goal on the next series, Scott got a tough two yards to find the end zone and give LSU the 24-17 lead.
The drive left South Carolina 4:16 with which to work, but on 2nd-and-15 Garcia threw into the arms of a waiting Curtis Taylor, and the Tigers took over at the Gamecock 42 with less than four minutes remaining.
A ground game that gained 363 yards on the evening, allowed LSU to gain four vital first downs while South Carolina burned all three of its timeouts, and the clock expired on 4th-and-goal from the Gamecock six.
"Our second half defense didn't allow them to score," Miles added. "The defense had a lot of swagger. They were awfully strong that second half. It was a very satisfying victory."
Colt David got LSU on the board with a 48-yard boot with 6:43 left in the opening quarter, and South Carolina answered with a solid 76-yard drive, but the Gamecocks were stymied on 3rd-and-goal from the LSU six, settling for a 21-yard field goal from Ryan Succop just over two minutes into the second quarter.
Succop missed from 39 yards on the next series and LSU came back with a 12- play, 78-yard drive that allowed the Tigers to take a 10-3 lead with just under four minutes to go until the half. A combination of Hatch and Lee kept the Gamecocks off-balance, and Lee moved the ball to the Gamecock 20 with a 15-yard strike to Williams. Two plays later, Scott scored the first of his two TDs on a five-yard scamper.
South Carolina quickly pulled even again with a 71-yard scoring drive just 1:20 later. A 41-yard completion to McKinley moved the ball into Tigers' territory and two plays later Garcia hit Weslye Saunders on a short pass, and Saunders took it up the left sideline for a 26-yard score with 2:38 left in the half.
South Carolina was able to squeeze in another score before the half after Lee was picked off on the first ensuing play from scrimmage. Carlos Thomas took the ball 46 yards the other way, giving the Gamecocks a red zone opportunity at the LSU eight. South Carolina gained seven yards on three downs, and Davis ran for a one-yard TD run on 4th-and-goal to take a 17-10 lead into halftime.
Both teams had trouble moving the ball in the third stanza but the Tigers put together a 53-yard drive late in the action and on the ninth play, Hatch found Dickson in the left flat and the wideout took it in from seven yards out, evening the score, 17-17.
LSU holds a commanding 16-2-1 series lead over South Carolina, which includes a 28-16 victory over the Gamecocks last season...LSU had the edge in several key categories, including time of possession (34:32-25:28), third-down conversions (6-of-14 to 1-of-9), and first downs (22-16)...The Tiger defense forced three fumbles and had six sacks.
10/19 01:46:06 ET