Oct. 13, 2012
BATON ROUGE, La. — Third-ranked South Carolina was unable to overcome a late nine-point deficit at LSU on Saturday night, as the No. 9/8 Tigers held on to claim a 23-21 victory over the Gamecocks at Tiger Stadium.
The loss snaps a school-record 10-game winning streak for the Gamecocks, who fall to 6-1 overall and 4-1 in the SEC. LSU improves to 6-1 on the season and 2-1 in conference play.
South Carolina held a 14-10 lead heading into the fourth quarter. However, the Tigers made a pair of field goals in the final stanza to take the lead for good, and a 50-yard touchdown run by Jeremy Hill pushed LSU’s lead to 23-14 with 5:03 remaining.
The Gamecocks refused to go down, as junior quarterback Connor Shaw guided the offense on a 12-play, 91-yard scoring drive capped by a 1-yard touchdown pass to Bruce Ellington to trim LSU’s lead to 23-21 with 1:41 remaining. The South Carolina defense then forced a three-and-out, but LSU’s Craig Loston came up with an interception on the ensuing possession to seal the win.
South Carolina finished the night with 211 yards of offense, while LSU accumulated 407 yards. Shaw completed 19-of-34 passes for 177 yards and two scores and had two interceptions. Junior Ace Sanders tied a career high with five receptions for 49 yards and a touchdown to lead the receiving corps.
Junior running back Marcus Lattimore wrapped up the contest with 35 yards and a touchdown on 13 carries.
Hill led the Tigers’ attack with 17 carries for 124 yards and two touchdowns.
The Gamecock defense came up big on LSU’s first drive of the game, as the Tigers drove down to the South Carolina 2-yard line. On third-and-goal, Gamecock linebackers Wilson and Reginald Bowens stood up Tiger running back Kenny Hilliard at the 1-yard line. After a false start penalty on fourth down moved the ball back to the 6-yard line, the Tigers were forced to settle for a 23-yard field goal by Drew Alleman to take a 3-0 lead with 5:32 left in the first quarter.
South Carolina’s offense stalled on its second drive of the contest, but the defense provided one of the biggest plays of the night on the ensuing possession. On second-and-seven from the South Carolina 34, junior cornerback Jimmy Legree stepped in front of a Zach Mettenberger pass at the 29 and returned the interception 70 yards to the LSU 1.
Shaw and the offense took advantage of the momentum-changing play. On second-and-goal from the 2, Shaw rolled right and connected with Sanders for a 2-yard touchdown pass, giving the Gamecocks a 7-3 lead with 14:54 left in the half.
LSU went on another lengthy drive following the Gamecocks’ score, but once again the South Carolina defense stood tall in the red zone and forced a fourth-and-10 from the South Carolina 15. Alleman entered to attempt a 32-yard field goal but he missed it wide left, as the Gamecocks held on to their 7-3 lead the remainder of the half.
The teams battled back and forth in the second half. LSU opened the half with a nine-play, 69-yard scoring drive capped by a 7-yard touchdown run by Hill, giving the Tigers a 10-7 lead at the 11:13 mark of the third quarter.
The Gamecocks answered late in the third quarter with a five-play, 39-yard scoring drive. A 30-yard pass from Shaw to tight end Justice Cunningham set South Carolina up at the LSU 2. From there, Lattimore burst into the end zone for a 2-yard touchdown run, as the Gamecocks took a 14-10 lead with 5:11 left in the quarter.
The Tigers pulled to within 14-13 early in the fourth quarter, as a 20-yard field goal by Alleman capped a 16-play, 75-yard drive.
LSU’s Eric Reid intercepted Shaw on the ensuing possession and returned it 29 yards to the Gamecock 22, setting up a 22-yard field goal by Alleman that gave LSU the lead for good with 6:37 left in the contest.
South Carolina returns to action next Saturday in a key SEC East matchup at Florida. Check back with GamecocksOline.com for the game time and television coverage.