BATON ROUGE -- LSU will look to put last week’s loss to Florida behind them on Saturday when the 13th-ranked Tigers try to keep pace in the Southeastern Conference Western Division race when they travel to face South Carolina in Columbia.
Kickoff for the Tigers and Gamecocks is scheduled for 7:06 p.m. CT from a sold out Williams-Brice Stadium. The game will be televised to a national audience by ESPN.
LSU, which is coming off a 51-21 loss to Florida last week, goes into the game with a 4-1 overall mark and a 2-1 league record. A win over the Gamecocks keeps the Tigers in the thick of the SEC Western Division race, while a loss would put a damper on LSU’s chances of repeating as the league’s champion.
LSU is 6-0 under Les Miles in games following a loss and the Tigers haven’t lost back-to-back games in football since the end of the 2002 season when they dropped a 21-20 decision to Arkansas to close out the regular season and then followed that with a 35-20 defeat to Texas in the Cotton Bowl.
LSU at South Carolina
Driving Directions (Baton Rouge to Columbia, S.C.)
South Carolina officials are advising LSU football fans that parking procedures around Williams-Brice Stadium in Columbia have changed considerably since the last time the Tigers played there. They advise Tiger fans who plan to attend Saturday night’s game in Columbia to review the parking procedures at the official website of Gamecock Athletics. | Complete Parking Info
South Carolina, winners of four straight, is playing its best football of the season and brings a 5-2 overall mark and a 2-2 conference record into the game. Last week, the Gamecocks rallied for a 24-17 road win over Kentucky.
Last year, LSU posted a 28-16 win over South Carolina in Tiger Stadium in the first-ever meeting between Les Miles and Steve Spurrier. Saturday’s game will mark LSU’s first trip to Columbia since 2003 when the Tigers unleashed a pair of freshmen running backs in Alley Broussard and Justin Vincent in a 33-7 victory.
The 2003 win over the Gamecocks, which came the week after a disappointing 19-7 loss to Florida, was the first of eight straight that year by the Tigers as LSU went on to claim the national title.
This team around, LSU goes into Columbia looking for consistency with the offense while also trying to remedy a defense that has made big plays at times but one that has also allowed some big plays at other times.
The Tigers are coming off a week in which Miles said they made progress in practice, now it’s just a matter of taking it to the playing field on Saturday night.
“We’ve had a good week of work,” Miles said. “I’ve been pleased with the effort, the intensity and the mindset of the players on the practice field this week. This team is looking forward to getting back on track and they understand that we want to play better than we did a week ago.
“I think the players will have a little bit of an edge when they get ready to step onto the field on Saturday night.”
Against South Carolina, the Tigers will face a Gamecock defense that ranks among the nation’s top three in both total yards allowed and pass defense. In seven games this year, South Carolina is allowing just 241 total yards per game, which includes only 132 passing yards. The Gamecock defense has yielded just two passing TDs all season and have only allowed one team to pass for over 200 yards.
The Tigers will face that South Carolina defense with a solid rushing attack, led by Charles Scott, and with a redshirt freshman quarterback in Jarrett Lee. Scott has rushed for at least 100 yards in four of LSU’s five games and he’s third in the SEC with 114 yards per game.
Lee, who emerged as LSU’s starter in the second half against Auburn, has throw for over 800 yards and eight scores in five games. Backup Andrew Hatch will also see action for the Tigers as the quarterback spot.
Defensively, LSU will face first-time starter in quarterback Stephen Garcia, who rallied the Gamecocks from a come-from-behind victory a week ago. Garcia threw for 169 yards in just over a quarter of action last week and will get his first career start against the Tigers.
LSU’s defense goes into the South Carolina game allowing 22 points and 303 yards per game. South Carolina’s offense is averaging 23 points and 352 yards per game.
“We are excited about the opportunity to go and play again,” Miles said. “Let’s go play. We’ve worked hard this week and now this game gives us a chance to see the progress that we have made. The players are excited about the chance to play again and to play football like we are accustomed to.”