- South Carolina
By The Sports Xchange October 16, 2012 4:10 PM
It took more than half a season but LSU finally looked like the team most expected the Tigers to be and the one they were last season during their 23-21 victory against No. 3 South Carolina last week. Whether LSU can look that good two weeks in a row and do so for the first time on the road this season will be determined at Texas A&M on Saturday. The Tigers ran the ball effectively, dominated time of possession, unleashed its pass rush and won the turnover battle against the Gamecocks. After averaging two turnovers and more than eight penalties per game through six weeks, they had one turnover in five penalties in a cleaner performance. "I think we're evolving," LSU coach Les Miles said. "There was a a little bit less penalties, a little less mistakes, a little coming of age. That needs to continue." LSU had been inconsistent in winning its first five games of the season and seemed to get exposed in a 14-6 loss at Florida on Oct. 6, but the Tigers turned things around against the Gamecocks. "It's hard for us to lose two games in a row," safety Eric Reid said. "The intensity was there and that's something that we have to make sure we do for the rest of the season because every game is as important. "We have to keep that intensity up, keep playing like we did last week." The Tigers were the No. 1 team in the preseason coaches poll but started to slide even as they were winning and eventually fell to No. 9 after the loss. A second consecutive SEC title and a return trip to the BCS Championship seemed less and less likely prior to the game against South Carolina. But that victory helped LSU grab the sixth spot in the first BCS rankings and a victory against A&M would return some lost luster to the Nov. 3 game against No. 1 Alabama. The Tigers have an open date Oct. 27. NOTES --LSU has played 15 true freshmen this season, which is the most in the country. --The Tigers have started five different combinations on the offensive line. --Defensive end Sam Montgomery was named the SEC defensive lineman of the week after tying his career-high with two sacks against South Carolina. --RB Jeremy Hill was named the SEC freshman of the week after rushing for 124 yards and two touchdowns against South Carolina.