Tuesday, October 16, 2012

LSU runs over South Carolina, 23-21

The Ol' Ball Coach came into Death Valley (that Death Valley) with a vaunted defense, star running back and national title hopes. He left with a new perspective.

"Tonight I realized why LSU was preseason No. 1 (in USA Today)," Steve Spurrier said moments after the No. 3 ranked South Carolina Gamecocks were beaten by the Tigers. "They're a big, strong team," he said. "They can run the ball and stop the run. That was the biggest difference in the game probably. I don't know how many rushing yards they had, but I know we didn't have many at all. I give those guys credit. They were running much better than we thought they would."

The Gamecocks got ran over in a 23-21 loss to LSU that shouldn't have been as close as it was. The Tigers nearly doubled South Carolina's yardage, but a Zach Mettenberger interception gave the Gamecocks the ball at the LSU 1 and they punched it in.

Tiger freshman running back Jeremy Hill had a breakout game, finishing with 124 yards on 17 carries, including touchdowns of 7 yards and 50. It was just what the Tigers needed after a bitter loss last week, losing by eight points to a good but one-dimensional Florida team that uses a lot of misdirection and trickery to move the ball.

''At the beginning of the season, it was about the national championship. But at the end of the day, it's all about family. I think we got back to that,'' Sam Montgomery said. ''Last year, we never would have talked about a national championship. We took it week by week by week by week, getting closer and closer.''
LSU (6-1, 2-1 Southeastern Conference) had the appearance of a team in a slide for the previous several weeks, which included several unimpressive victories over heavy underdogs, followed by a loss at Florida on Oct. 6 in which first-year starting quarterback Zach Mettenberger and the Tigers' offense were unable to get into the end zone once.

Check out the box score

''Maybe we needed a loss to be humbled, to get that hunger back, to get adversity knowing that everything doesn't comes so easily,'' said Montgomery, a defensive end, who had two sacks of South Carolina quarterback Connor Shaw. ''It was something we needed to wake us back (up), to get us playing tough, hard-nosed football.''

For South Carolina, the loss was simple.
'Our front seven didn't come to play,'' said South Carolina star defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, who was in on six tackles but did not have a sack. ''We gave up way too many yards and too many third down conversions. We can't win like that.''
LSU plays at BCS No. 18 Texas A&M (5-1, 3-1 SEC) at 11 a.m. Saturday on ESPN. 

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