South Carolina’s season keeps heading south.
The Gamecocks fell to 0-4 in the SEC for the first time since their winless 1999 season with a 45-24 to No. 7 LSU in Tiger Stadium. The Tigers improved to 5-0 overall and 3-0 in the SEC as South Carolina fell to 2-4 overall.
“They are just way better than us, men,” South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier said. “That’s all you can say.”
The Tigers unexpectedly found themselves hosting this week’s game after historic flooding in South Carolina forced the game to be moved from Williams-Brice Stadium, and LSU officials and fans rolled out the red carpet for the Gamecocks before the game.
Once the game started, South Carolina surrendered a season-worst 624 yards, including 396 on the ground.
South Carolina started junior Perry Orth at quarterback due to a shoulder injury suffered last week by freshman Lorenzo Nunez, and Orth finished 14-of-28 for 200 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. Junior wide receiver Pharoh Cooper had seven catches for 105 yards.
South Carolina was within one score at halftime and had LSU backed up on its first possession of the third quarter, but Tigers tailback Leonard Fournette went 87 yards up the middle on second-and-3 to put his team up 24-10. The carry put Fournette over 1,000 yards for the season in his fifth game of the year. He finished with 20 carries for 158 yards.
Star of the game: Fournette has been amazing this season and he didn’t stop dazzling Saturday. The sophomore Heisman Trophy candidate was held to 49 yards on 15 carries in the first half, but finished with 20 carries for 158 yards despite sitting out most of the second half. He’s averaging 204.4 yards per game this season.
Play of the game: On the first touch of his collegiate career, South Carolina freshman defensive back Rashad Fenton scored on a 96-yard return in the second quarter. It was the Gamecocks’ first kickoff return for a touchdown since Matthew Thomas did it in 2002.
Stat of the game: South Carolina’s defense held the Tigers to 238 yards in the first half – 103 on the ground and 135 through the air, but LSU stepped on the gas in the second half. The Tigers gained 387 yards in the second half.
Lewis looming: Junior college transfer Marquavius Lewis, who has started all six games since arriving on campus, had his most active game of the season and recorded his first sack along the way. Lewis chased down Brandon Harris for a 12-yard loss in the third quarter.
Quarterback quandry: Orth didn’t play great (14-for-28, 200 yards, two touchdowns, one interception) but wasn’t terrible either. His passing ability gave the Gamecocks the more balanced attack that coach Steve Spurrier had been missing. If Nunez, who made the trip but didn’t dress, is healthy enough to play next week against Vanderbilt, Spurrier will have an interesting decision to make about who to start. Junior Connor Mitch, who started the first two games of the year before separating his shoulder against Kentucky, could be ready to return Oct. 31 against Texas A&M.
Outmanned: South Carolina hung tough for 30 minutes, which might give the Gamecocks something to build on, but the final tallies were not pretty. LSU had 83 plays to South Carolina’s 50, 624 yards to USC’s 283, and nearly 40 minutes of possession time.
Who: Vanderbilt at South Carolina
When: 4 p.m., Oct. 17
Where: Williams-Brice Stadium
TV: SEC Network