White helmets, purple jerseys, white pants: LSU breaks out rare combination for win over South Carolina _lowres

Advocate staff photo by TRAVIS SPRADLING -- LSU quarterback Brandon Harris gets a hug on the sideline from defensive back Dwayne Thomas after Harris' touchdown pass to Travin Dural on Saturday.

LSU was forced to wear purple jerseys at home Saturday against South Carolina — the first time since 1994 the Tigers had done so in an Southeastern Conference game.

The Tigers, in fact, had another wardrobe change in store — this one self-induced.

Players wore helmets and white pants for their 45-24 win against the Gamecocks at Tiger Stadium. It is believed to be the first time LSU has worn that combination with its traditional purple tops. It was the first time LSU wore white helmets since a 2011 game against Auburn. The Tigers previously wore white helmets in a 2007 game at Tulane and in the 1997 Independence Bowl against Notre Dame.

It’s unclear when the school first decided on the uniform change, but it was planned for a while. In a letter this summer, South Carolina informed LSU it would wear white for its home game against the Tigers, forcing LSU out of its traditional white jerseys and into purples tops for a conference game.

South Carolina (2-4, 0-4 SEC) kept with its plan to wear all whites despite the relocation of the game to Baton Rouge.

The No. 7 Tigers (5-0, 3-0) hosted the game but were officially the visitors. The game was relocated from Williams-Brice Stadium in Columbia because of the massive flooding in South Carolina.

This wasn’t the first time LSU wore the rare combination of white helmets, purple jerseys and white pants.

The Tigers wore something similar in a 34-9 win over Tulane in the Superdome in 2007. The uniforms were designed to help with fundraising for Hurricane Katrina recovery efforts in New Orleans. At that time, it was believed to be the first time the Tigers donned the uniform combination.

Saturday’s game marked the fourth time in the modern era LSU has worn white helmets (4-0) and the seventh time in the modern era LSU has worn white pants (6-1).

Mills, Gordon dress out

The wait is finally over.

Senior defensive back Jalen Mills, who had been sidelined with an ankle injury since Aug. 19, dressed out and participated in pregame warmups Saturday. He was joined by senior tight end Dillon Gordon, who was day-to-day since injuring his Achilles against Auburn on Sept. 19.

Neither played a snap during the game.

Quinn, Diarse start

Les Miles wasn’t lying when he said he considered shuffling the receiver lineup following a five-drop game against Eastern Michigan.

Sophomores Trey Quinn and John Diarse, who saw limited snaps through the first four games, started against South Carolina. The regular starters, junior Travin Dural and sophomore Malachi Dupre, also played during the Tigers’ first drive, but Miles regularly rotated his receivers.

Williams hits paydirt

Darrel Williams finally got his shot.

LSU’s sophomore running back scored his first touchdown of the season with about five minutes left in the first quarter. Williams took a handoff from the fullback spot and plunged across the goal line from 4 yards away. He later added a 1-yard touchdown late in the third quarter.

Sophomore Leonard Fournette is the only other LSU running back to score this season.

Gamecocks halt streak

LSU had not trailed once this season — not until South Carolina kicker Elliott Fry booted a 21-yard field goal.

South Carolina ripped off a 62-yard scoring drive to open the game, ending the Tigers’ streak. LSU either led or was tied with its opponents for all 243 minutes and 58 seconds prior to the Gamecocks’ score.

Fenton’s first touch

South Carolina’s Rashad Fenton hadn’t touched the ball before Saturday. The true freshman gave his coaches good reason to make sure he keeps getting it.

Fenton returned a kickoff 96 yards for a touchdown to pull the Gamecocks within 14-10 about halfway through the second quarter.

Upon further review

The official stats no longer credit Brandon Harris with an interception, but he now has a fumble to his name.

The previous week, an Eastern Michigan defender hit Harris, sending the ball flying into the air. The play was originally ruled an interception after the Eagles came down with the ball, but it was later changed to a fumble.

Good to be home

LSU’s October slate will be kinder than it first appeared.

On top of facing two non-Power Five schools and the struggling Gamecocks, the Tigers will play all four of this month’s games at home. The only other time the team hosted every game in October was in 1911, and LSU won all four by a margin of 168-0.

After going 2-0 to open the month, the Tigers will host No. 11 Florida on Oct. 17 and Western Kentucky the following Saturday.

LSU-South Carolina series

Following their win Saturday, the Tigers hold a commanding 18-2-1 lead in the series with the Gamecocks, which dates to 1930.

LSU is 6-1-1 against South Carolina since the Gamecocks joined the SEC in 1992 and 12-1 against USC in Baton Rouge. That string includes a 23-21 win in Tiger Stadium in 2012.

Lagniappe

Sports information director Michael Bonnette said the NCAA considered Saturday’s contest to be a home game for LSU. ... Sophomore safety John Battle recorded his first career interception on a tipped pass. ... LSU successfully converted its first fourth-down attempt of the season on a 2-yard rush by Williams. ... Junior safety Corey Thompson, the Tigers’ dimeback, did not “travel” with the team. The SEC allows road teams to bring a 70-man roster, and LSU was technically the visiting squad Saturday. ...Captains for the game were senior punter Jamie Keehn, junior defensive end Lewis Neal, senior right tackle Vadal Alexander and junior linebacker Duke Riley. ... It was 76 degrees at kickoff.