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LSU running back John Emery Jr. (4) is forced out of bounds on the carry by South Carolina defensive back R.J. Roderick (10) in the first half, Saturday, October 24, 2020, at LSU's Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge, La.

LSU didn't lean on a star rusher to dominate a must-win game against South Carolina.

It leaned on two, and both John Emery and Tyrion Davis-Price answered the call while true freshman quarterback TJ Finley led the offense with Myles Brennan out with an injury.

With a nearly equal share of carries, Emery ran 18 times for 88 yards and a touchdown, while Davis-Price ran 22 times for 135 yards and a score of his own, LSU steamrolled South Carolina 52-24. Finley rushed eight times himself for 24 yards and a touchdown.

Chris Curry was the odd man out, carrying the ball just 3 times for 11 yards, and backup Max Johnson ran twice in relief of Finley for 19 yards.

The 276 rushing yards combined was the most by LSU since Week 5 of the 2018 season, when LSU rolled up 281 rushing yards against Ole Miss.

"We already have a pass game, we just wanted to come out and show we had a run game, for sure" Emery said. "Me and Ty always motivate each other. ...  We know we have the abilities. We just have to go on the field and show what we have. So it was great."

Two weeks before kicking off against South Carolina the Tigers were limited to a paltry 49 yards rushing as a team and unable to pound the ball across the goal line after being set up with a first down at the 1-yard line in the final minute. 

"Overall great team effort," Ed Orgeron said, noting the big games by Emery, Davis-Price and the gameplan of offensive coordinator Steve Ensminger.

Davis-Price's touchdown came from 4 yards out in the third quarter, while Emery's came from 3 yards out in the fourth quarter. The goal-line success marked clear improvement in an area Tigers' running backs been working on during a surprise open week with the postponement of the Florida game due to a coronavirus outbreak within the Gator's program.

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Emery said before his scoring run he looked to his quarterback and fullback Tory Carter and told them he'd be going airborne.

"We got great penetration by our o-line," Emery said. "I just leaped over. It was great."

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LSU running back John Emery Jr. (4) goes airborne over the scrum for the score in the second half of the Tigers' 52-24 win over the Gamecocks, Saturday, October 24, 2020, at LSU's Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge, La.

But the tone was set early against the Gamecocks, with LSU taking the opening kickoff and marching downfield on a 16-yard scoring drive that included 13 runs. LSU used Finley's 6-6, 230-pound frame twice in short-yardage situations, converting on 4th down then later plowing over the goal-line for his score.

That drive lasted for 7 minutes, 26 seconds and helped set the stage for LSU winning the time of possession battle by more than 15 minutes. The Tigers were edged out in time of possession in each of its first three games.

"It was a cold game, and to come out just pounding it like that -- it woke up the South Carolina defense," Emery said. "I'm so proud of my O-line, I'm so happy, they stepped up big-time this game."

Email Jeff Nowak at jnowak@theadvocate.com

Twitter: @Jeff_Nowak