Last week the #3 South Carolina Gamecocks showed the nation exactly how good they were in destroying the Georgia Bulldogs 35-7. Now this week, they hope to prove that they aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. In yet another heavyweight SEC showdown, the Gamecocks (6-0, 4-0 in SEC) will travel to Baton Rouge to take on the #9 LSU Tigers (5-1, 1-1 in SEC). The Tigers are looking to rebound following a tough road, in-conference loss last week at the hands of the Florida Gators, 14-6.This should be an all-out, knock-down, drag-out battle between two of the nation’s top defenses.
South Carolina enters the game averaging 224.7 passing yards per game (71st in FBS), 181.5 rushing yards per game (46th), 36.3 points scored per game (33rd) and 10.5 points allowed per game (4th) while LSU is averaging 195.7 passing yards per game (100th in FBS), 198.3 rushing yards per game (34th), 33.5 points scored per game (42nd) and 12.8 points allowed per game (8th).
The Gamecocks have a much better offensive unit than the Tigers do and leading the way for the South Carolina offense is their dynamic duo in the backfield, quarterback Connor Shaw and running back Marcus Lattimore. This season Shaw has passed for 733 yards, seven touchdowns and two interceptions while completing 75.7% of his attempts and rushing for 281 yards and a touchdown on 64 carries.
Lattimore has rushed for 549 yards and nine touchdowns on 116 carries along with hauling in 18 pass receptions for 133 yards. Two other key factors in the South Carolina offense are wideout Damiere Byrd (10 receptions for 288 yards and 2 TD) and tight end Rory Anderson (8 receptions for 157 yards and 4 TD), who will both need to show up against the LSU defense.
South Carolina’s overall best player may just be sophomore defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, who at 6’6″ and 256lb has already racked up 25 tackles and 6.5 sacks in just six games this year. If Clowney gets pressure in the LSU backfield plus Shaw and Lattimore go off on offense, then it’s going to be a long, long day for the Tigers.
The Tigers offense has to show up this week, otherwise they can expect to get beat three times worse than they did last week at Florida.
That offense all starts with junior signal caller Zach Mettenberger, who so far this season has passed for 1,174 yards, six touchdowns and three touchdowns while completing 61.8% of his pass attempts. Last week Mettenberger had a terrible game vs the Gators passing for just 158 yards and an interception while going 11-25 on his pass attempts. If the Tigers are going to stand any chance this week against the Gamecocks, that will have to improve tremendously.
The Tigers are also going to have some major production from their running back duo of Kenny Hilliard (58 carries for 382 yards and 5 TD this season) and Alfred Blue (40 carries for 270 yards and 2 TD along with 7 receptions for 45 yards this year). If these three players can’t get anything going, then LSU can kiss their chances in this contest goodbye.
South Carolina really showed me something last week and LSU didn’t show me anything, which is why I have to go with the Gamecocks in this one despite the fact that LSU is home and Les Miles‘ teams don’t lose consecutive games often. South Carolina 24 – LSU 10.