Through the first four games of the season, the LSU football team became accustomed to getting 150-yard rushing games on a regular basis from Heisman Trophy candidate Leonard Fournette.
Going into Saturday’s game with South Carolina in Tiger Stadium, Fournette had rushed for 159, 228, 244 and 233 yards in LSU’s 4-0 start.
While Fournette added another 158 yards, including an electrifying 87-yard touchdown, in LSU’s 45-24 victory over South Carolina, the Tigers offense proved it’s not a one-man rushing attack — not by any stretch of the imagination.
Fournette, who didn’t play the final 1½ quarters, actually wasn’t LSU’s rushing leader for the first time in seven games after true freshman Derrius Guice, a Baton Rouge native, piled up 161 yards and a touchdown.
Sophomore Darrel Williams added 61 yards and touchdowns of 1 and 4 yards on 10 carries as LSU piled up 396 rushing yards, pounding out 7.3 yards per attempt, en route to a season-high 624 total yards.
Fournette, who now has 1,022 yards and 12 rushing touchdowns for the season, was more than happy to share the wealth with his backfield mates Saturday.
“Yeah, they did a tremendous job,” a smiling Fournette said. “Those guys have tremendous talent, as you can see.
“We just keep working with them each and every day in practice.”
It was even fun, he said, to watch Guice take over for him and easily top his previous career high of 55 yards that he had in a blowout win over Auburn on Sept. 19.
“It was fun, but I’m going to get on him because he had three more yards than me,” Fournette said with a laugh. “He’s excited … I’m real happy for him and Darrel.
“They got their touchdowns, and that’s something I’ve been waiting for. It’s a blessing to see those guys do the things that they love to do on the football field.”
Fournette did have the longest run of the game, the 87-yard burst on the second play from scrimmage in the third period that helped LSU extend its 17-10 halftime lead to 14 points and sparked a three-touchdown quarter.
Guice and Fournette became the first LSU tandem to rush for more than 150 yards in a Southeastern Conference game. Kevin Faulk had 246 yards and Rondell Mealey added 161 against Houston on Sept. 7, 1996.
Guice ripped off long runs of 39, 25 and 20 yards and had his first career touchdown on a 4-yard burst up the middle in the fourth quarter.
“I think he’s pretty talented,” LSU coach Les Miles said of Guice, who broke five tackles on a whirling, spinning 25-yard run in the third quarter. “ ‘Reckless’ might be the best word. ‘Angry’ might be a better word. There are a number of ways to describe his running style. ‘Efficient.’ ”
“(Guice) is a man; he’s wild,” Fournette said. “He never likes going down. He’s a beast, though.”
Right tackle Vadal Alexander said the twin 150-yard games from Guice and Fournette made the offensive line proud.
“It felt great to do that, hopefully it tells people that we can block,” Alexander said. “We block for all the backs the same way. We give great effort and we want all out running backs to rush for a lot of yards.
“All our running backs are so talented. Every single back that gets in there can make a play, can get yards. You saw that today.”
Quarterback Brandon Harris, who threw for a career-high 228 yards in completing 18 of 28 attempts, said having that kind of production from the players behind him takes pressure off the passing game.
“It feels so good to have great running backs like that,” he said. “(Offensive coordinator) Coach Cam (Cameron) always reminds me that I may leave this place and never see the stallions in the backfield that can do the things they do.
“I was blocking for Guice on one play, and the next thing I know he’s 40 yards down the field making a guy miss (a tackle). So they’re all special.”
Follow Sheldon Mickles on Twitter: @MicklesAdvocate.