South Carolina’s coaches and players are more concerned about actually playing LSU than where they play LSU.
“No difference,” Gamecocks senior running back Brandon Wilds said in response to playing in Baton Rouge, La., rather than Williams-Brice Stadium on Saturday. “Same team.”
And that team is undefeated, ranked No. 7 in the nation and led by Heisman Trophy candidate running back Leonard Fournette. Saturday’s game will be played in Tiger Stadium rather than on the Gamecocks home field after USC officials decided Wednesday to move the game due to flooding in Columbia and across the state.
“It’s no different to us,” senior offensive lineman Mike Matulis said. “We still have to go play a ball game. That’s just the way things happen. There was a natural disaster here. We can’t control that so we’re just going to have to go over there and play.”
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Matulis is one of several Gamecocks veterans who played in Tiger Stadium, better known as Death Valley, in 2012, when No. 3 South Carolina fell 23-21 to No. 9 LSU.
“It’s loud, good crowd,” Matulis said. “It’s what you want in a football game.”
The Gamecocks will be listed as the home team for the game and will wear white pants and white jerseys. Once the decision to move the game was made, South Carolina officials lobbied for a non-night start. The game will kick off at 3:30 p.m.
“Their record at night is very, very good and their record at daytime is very, very good, but I guess they have lost a few more in daytime that at night, but we have to worry about ourselves,” coach Steve Spurrier said. “They are a big, strong team at every position. Hopefully, we can go play the game a lot better than we did last game.”
LSU began selling tickets to the game to its fans Wednesday and will make tickets available to South Carolina fans starting Thursday evening.
“I did ask (LSU coach Les) Miles to tell the fans not to yell when we were on the field,” Spurrier said. “I think he’s going to help out with that.”
The Gamecocks are 2-3 overall and 0-3 entering the game. Asked if he would have felt differently about the change if his team was undefeated, Spurrier replied, “That’s another story.”
The logistics of the switch are not difficult for the coaches and players, Spurrier said. “Pack a little bag and go,” he said.
The team’s equipment truck and managers will all leave after Thursday’s practice, following their normal schedule for road games, said equipment manager Chris Matlock.
Miles said before Wednesday’s change had been announced that he was not concerned where the game would be played and had asked his administration to leave him out of the discussions until a decision was made.