The LSU Tigers defeated the South Carolina Gamecocks, 23-21, Saturday night on the strength of their running game and defense. Jeremy Hill ran 17 times for 124 yards and two touchdowns, with Spencer Ware adding 55 yardson 14 carries. On the other side of the ball, South Carolina standout halfback Marcus Lattimore rushed for just 35 yards, the first time in five SEC games that Lattimore ran for less than 85 yards.
On its face, this looked like a classic LSU game: Play stout defense, run the ball, complete just enough passes to keep the defense honest and rely on Les Miles' unique game management skills and special teams to win. SB Nation LSU web site And the Valley Shook found it to be the opposite:
This was not a typical LSU football game. OK, it had some of the earmarks of a Les Miles Special. It featured some baffling time management decisions, huge swings of momentum, a killer defense just clinging on for dear life, and mistakes keeping the other team in the game. So it wasn't entirely unlike the white knuckle ride we're used to this season.
However, the big difference this game was that LSU flat out dominated the stat sheet, but lost the special teams battle throughout. That is not how LSU has won games. In fact, it's been the opposite.
And the Valley Shook was especially baffled by LSU's shortcomings in the punting game:
The special teams is the real head scratcher. How did LSU's special teams go from perhaps the best in the country to a liability in almost every game this season. Brad Wing had some terrible punts, including a ten yarder, and even his good punts weren't that good. He failed to pin South Carolina inside their 20 a single time. LSU lost the battle of field position yet again.
LSU travels to Kyle Field next week to face the Texas A&M Aggies.