BATON ROUGE, La. — On Saturday, LSU rolled out a welcome mat unlike any seen for South Carolina. The Tigers flew the Gamecocks to Baton Rouge, took care of their hotels, learned their alma mater and fight song, and flew them back to Columbia.
Leonard Fournette even offered up his game jersey for auction to raise relief funds. As awesome a gesture as all that was, the hospitality ended there as the Tigers trounced USC 45-24.
South Carolina never got any consistency from its offense and that left a struggling defense on the field all day to get worn down by LSU’s powerful rushing attack.
The Gamecocks ran only 50 plays from scrimmage, 33 fewer than LSU, and were nearly doubled in time of possession. Perry Orth was inconsistent but threw for 200 yards and one interception that was the result of a tipped pass and an impressive diving catch.
It was the USC rushing game that fell short, picking up only 74 yards on the day. It was the second week in a row that the Gamecocks failed to muster much on the ground.
Without Brandon Wilds, USC struggled in previous games but was able to move with the improvisation of Lorenzo Nunez. Without their top two rushing threats, the Gamecocks were unable to do much.
Defensively, the Gamecocks started off strong, holding Fournette to only 59 first half rushing yards. In fact, LSU needed a little luck to take even a touchdown lead into halftime. It was the third quarter that doomed the Gamecocks, as Fournette broke one of only two rushes for more than 10 yards and went 87 yards for a touchdown. Derrius Guice gashed USC repeatedly and finished with 16 carries for 161 yards.
While the Gamecocks continued to fight throughout the game, there was some grumbling afterwards. Shameik Blackshear, USC’s highest rated recruit coming into 2015, took to social media after the game and seemingly voiced his displeasure at committing to the Gamecocks, saying he “should of looked around like my parents said.”
This came after Lorenzo Ward said that Blackshear would most likely redshirt this year.
With Vanderbilt coming to town this week, South Carolina will need to regroup. The Gamecocks offense will need to find a way to move the ball against one of the better defenses in the SEC. The Commodores have held opponents to 18 points per game this year.
While their offense has been dismal, Johnny McCrary can still expect to have a better-than-average game against USC. The Gamecocks have managed to make nearly every quarterback they have faced in 2015 look like All Americans.
Reach James Inabinet at 803-635-4016.