1. What we learned
Yes, Carolina, LSU can throw the ball. And when they really had to do so. South Carolina came out primed to stop Leonard Fournette and the LSU ground game. The Gamecocks were effective at it for a half, but Brandon Harris and the LSU receivers were up to the task. In just a half, Harris set personal bests for attempts and completions (13 of 23), ending up 18 of 28 for a career-high 228 yards and two touchdown passes. It won’t vault him into Heisman contention with Fournette, but it may make defenses think twice about selling out against the run.
2. Trending now
Pick your trend. Harris? Fournette going over 1,000 yards in just five games? Derrius Guice? LSU’s feast-or-famine defense? We choose the Tigers’ less-than-special special teams. LSU was cruising 14-3 midway in the second quarter when Rashad Fenton returned a kickoff 96 yards for a score. The Tigers were bound to get burned on kickoff returns this year and spent most of the rest of the game squibbing and pooching, to the detriment of its field position. Fans derisively cheered when Trent Domingue kicked deep and Guice made a tackle at the 25.
3. Final thoughts
In a strange pseudo-home game for LSU, the Tigers were overpowering, flawed, hopeful and maddening. In other words, a typical tour de force for Les Miles’ talented football team. Now the climbing gets steeper as surprising Florida comes to town. But let this surreal game stand on its own as LSU managed to be both gracious host and (at times) dominant football team. Credit a stubborn, proud South Carolina squad, but also credit an LSU offense that may have found a second way to move the ball.