South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier thought senior running back Brandon Wilds was going to play Saturday until just before game time.
“Brandon Wilds took himself out,” Spurrier said. “Brandon Wilds said, ‘My rib hurts, I can’t play.’ That’s why Brandon Wilds didn’t play.”
Wilds missed his third straight game after suffering bruised ribs against Georgia on Sept. 19. He was the Gamecocks starter entering the season and is their second-leading rusher with 181 yards on 35 carries this year.
“It was a surprise,” Spurrier said. “Y’all ask him. He said he was hurt, couldn’t play. We are not going to put anybody out there that doesn’t want to play if they say they are hurt.”
Never miss a local story.
The Gamecocks rushed for 74 yards against LSU on Saturday. Running backs David Williams and Shon Carson combined for 51 yards on 13 carries.
“He’s an awesome player,” junior quarterback Perry Orth said. “I wouldn’t say it hurt us, but having him back there is a huge asset for our offense.”
Orth probably will make his second consecutive start and third of the season against Vanderbilt, Spurrier said after the game. Freshman Lorenzo Nunez, who started against UCF and Missouri, made the trip to Baton Rouge but did not dress out because of a sprained shoulder. Nunez was the Gamecocks’ leading rusher (45 carries, 299 yards) and passer (374 yards, three touchdowns) through the first five games of the year.
“Nunez couldn’t even raise his arm this week, so I doubt if he’ll be able to throw next week,” Spurrier said. “Perry made a lot of good plays. He did, made a lot of good plays for a walk-on kid, hit some big passes there in the second half.”
Orth finished 14-of-28 for 200 yards, two touchdowns and one interception.
“It was awesome,” Orth said of the start. “Unfortunately, I am not sure how long Lorenzo is going to be out for. It was nice to have a full game to let me try to get into a rhythm.”
Michael Scarnecchia made his collegiate debut late in the game, completing one pass for 9 yards. Junior Connor Mitch (sprained shoulder) could be ready for the Oct. 31 game against Texas A&M.
Offsides onside kick
The Gamecocks looked like they might have a little life in the third quarter when Landon Ard recovered his own onsides kick with South Carolina trailing 38-24, but D.J. Smith was called for an offsides penalty that negated the play.
“From up top, (the South Carolina coaches) said they didn’t think D.J. Smith was offsides, but the sad part was the referee had warned him because he had been close to offsides a couple other times. He warned him right before the play. He probably was barely offsides. That didn’t cause us to lose the game, but a very careless play.”
No final decision has been made about Saturday’s game against Vanderbilt. The game is scheduled to be played at 4 p.m. in Williams-Brice Stadium, but athletics director Ray Tanner said Saturday that a final determination on the game has not been made.
The Gamecocks were technically the home team in Saturday’s game so they wore their home white jerseys along with white pants and white helmets. LSU officials flew the South Carolina state flag in the spot the Louisiana state flag traditionally flies for Tigers home games. The LSU band played South Carolina’s alma mater on the field prior to the game, and the public address system blared “Sandstorm” before the opening kickoff.
A message from Gamecocks athletic director Ray Tanner thanking LSU officials for their hospitality played on the Tigers’ video board just before kickoff.
“Your acceptance of us will not be forgotten,” Tanner said. “Thank you LSU Tigers.”
The LSU band played each teams’ alma mater as players from both teams stood on the field after the game.
After coaching the last two games from the press box, quarterbacks coach G.A. Mangus returned to the sideline Saturday and wide receivers coach Steve Spurrier Jr. went back to the press box after two games on the field during games. Mangus was South Carolina’s primary play-caller in the games Nunez started at quarterback because of Mangus’ familiarity with a quarterback-run heavy offense.
Heard at home
Starting wide receiver Carlton Heard did not travel with the team because of a lacerated lip. Heard has five catches for 78 yards this season. Senior Shamier Jeffery had three catches for 35 yards.
South Carolina improved to 7-of-9 on fourth down conversions this season when tight end Jerell Adams caught a 36-yard touchdown pass on fourth-and-8 in the third quarter. … Junior quarterback Perry Orth has started two collegiate games – one in Sanford Stadium in Athens, Ga., and one in Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge, La. … Freshman defensive end Shameik Blackshear, who has played the last two games, did not travel Saturday and now probably will redshirt, defensive co-coordinator Lorenzo Ward said.