BATON ROUGE, La. -- The attendance was more like what you might anticipate for a spring game -- the result of Wednesday’s decision to move the LSU-South Carolina game to Tiger Stadium because of flooding in South Carolina -- but the outcome was much more predictable.
Paced by 158 rushing yards from Leonard Fournette, including an 87-yard touchdown run, No. 7 LSU beat South Carolina 45-24 on Saturday afternoon. The Tigers (5-0, 3-0 SEC) played before an announced crowd of 42,058 in what was officially called a road game, handing South Carolina (2-4, 0-4) its eighth loss in its last nine SEC games.
What the win means for LSU: Fournette’s string of consecutive 200-yard games ended at three, mostly because he watched from the sideline for the last quarter and a half. Nonetheless, the Tigers showed they can do more than ask Fournette to completely carry the offense. Backups Derrius Guice (164 rushing yards, one touchdown) and Darrel Williams (58 yards, two touchdowns) made multiple highlight-reel runs in the second half, while quarterback Brandon Harris finished with a career-high 228 passing yards, and the Tigers rolled up 624 yards of total offense.
What the loss means for South Carolina: The Gamecocks trailed 17-10 at halftime, largely thanks to a 96-yard kickoff return by Rashad Fenton, but surrendered touchdowns on each of the first four LSU drives after halftime. Perry Orth (201 passing yards, two touchdowns, one interception) and the Gamecocks’ offense did a better job in the second half after gaining just 122 yards in the first, but South Carolina was unable to keep up with LSU’s scoring pace.
The game turned when: South Carolina hung around and limited Fournette to 15 carries for 49 yards before halftime, but the Heisman Trophy front-runner broke the game open on the second play after intermission. He broke loose for an 87-yard touchdown run that pushed LSU’s lead to 24-10 and the Tigers led by at least two touchdowns the rest of the way.
Top play: LSU faced third-and-24 at its own 38 when Harris launched a pass downfield midway through the third quarter. Leaping tight end DeSean Smith barely got a fingertip on the pass at the South Carolina 45, but the ball deflected directly into LSU receiver Travin Dural's hands. Dural hauled in the pass and went the rest of the way for a 62-yard touchdown to put LSU up 31-10.
Stat of the game: Harris had passed for more than 100 yards just once this season (157 against Syracuse) since LSU typically features a run-heavy offense. He had already attempted 23 passes for 135 yards at halftime and finished 18-for-28 for 228 yards and two touchdowns, the first 200-yard game of his career.