Game Day Preview: What you need to know about LSU-South Carolina matchup
The biggest story surrounding LSU-South Carolina hasn’t been about the game, but where the game will be played.
South Carolina officials were forced to move the game from Williams-Brice Stadium in Columbia, S.C. to Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge, La. after heavy rains flooded South Carolina last week.
Here’s everything you need to know for Saturday’s SEC battle:
No. 7 LSU (4-0) at South Carolina (2-3), game will be played at Tiger Stadium
Kickoff: Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET (ESPN)
Weather: 85 degrees, 10 percent chance of rain
Line: LSU – 14 (according to the Wynn)
Series Record: LSU leads all-time series 17-2-1
By the numbers
21 – It’s been 21 years since South Carolina has beaten LSU. The Gamecocks knocked off LSU 18-17 in a nail-biter at Tiger Stadium in 1994. The Gamecocks are winless in the subsequent six contests since that victory.
54.1 – Quarterback Brandon Harris has completed 54.1 percent of his passes through the first four games of his sophomore season. He has the 12th-highest completion percentage among SEC quarterbacks.
299 – South Carolina quarterback Lorenzo Nunez is the team’s leading rusher with 299 rushing yards this season. Nunez has averaged 6.6 yards per carry with one touchdown. Senior tailback Brandon Wilds, who has rushed for 181 yards, sits in second place behind Harris.
Storylines to watch
LSU faces similar situation
LSU can relate to South Carolina’s tragedy. The Tigers were displaced after Hurricane Katrina ravaged Louisiana in 2005. They had to move a home game against Arizona State from Baton Rouge to Tempe, Ariz.
The Tigers overcame dire circumstances to knock off the Sun Devils 35-31. LSU must be cognisant of an emotional South Carolina team led by a great motivator in coach Steve Spurrier. South Carolina is 2-3 and could desperately use a monumental victory to help turn its season around. This game is a great opportunity for the Gamecocks to lift the emotions of the entire state Saturday afternoon.
SC’s Quarterback Carousel
South Carolina will be without Nunez on Saturday because of a sprained right shoulder. Junior and former walk-on Perry Orth will get the start for the Gamecocks. Orth is 23 of 47 with one touchdown and two interceptions this season. Orth entered in relief of the original starting quarterback, Connor Mitch, who separated his shoulder in South Carolina’s game against Kentucky a month ago. Orth lost the starting job shortly after that to Nunez.
The Gamecocks will be without their leading passer and rusher, which means LSU could see plenty of Wilds out of the backfield.
Balancing the offense
LSU needs to establish some balance offensively and wasn’t able to do it against Eastern Michigan last week. South Carolina is a good opportunity for Brandon Harris to test himself.
Miles said, once again, that LSU wants to use a more balanced attack and said the offense contains versatile passing schemes. Harris and his receivers will need to have a better performance. Malachi Dupre and Travin Dural are two talented wideouts who have not gotten off to great starts this season.
Keep an eye on how Harris is used. The offense will always run through Leonard Fournette. The question is whether Harris can convert a third-and-long to extend a drive when LSU needs him.
Look out for Skai and Pharoh
Junior linebacker Skai Moore is a beast. He’s the anchor of the Gamecocks defense and is second in the SEC with 51 tackles. Moore is also a playmaker with three interceptions on the season.
Moore will certainly be in the mix in South Carolina’s plan to limit Fournette. He also will be someone Harris has to be aware of when he drops back to throw.
Junior wideout Pharoh Cooper is the best weapon in South Carolina’s offensive arsenal. Cooper is sixth in the conference with 26 receptions for 322 yards and two touchdowns. The potential matchup between Cooper and LSU junior cornerback Dwayne Thomas could be a fascinating one to watch.
Prediction: LSU 30, South Carolina 16