The No. 9 LSU Tigers host the No. 3 South Carolina Gamecocks on Oct. 13 at Tiger Stadium. The game be televised on ESPN at 7 p.m. Central time.
Series InformationThe Tigers have dominated the all-time series with South Carolina and hold a 16-2-1 advantage. LSU is 4-1-1 against South Carolina since 1992 when the Gamecocks joined the SEC. The Tigers have taken the last four meetings, including a 2-0 record under head coach Les Miles. Despite last week's disappointing defeat against Florida, LSU fans can hope Miles' 17-1 record after a loss as LSU's head coach up holds up this week.
LSU Could Use Another Different Offensive Line CombinationDue to injuries, the Tigers could use a different offensive line combination for the fifth time in seven games this season on Saturday. The results of the changes have been noticeable against SEC competition, with just 275.5 yards per game (112.0 rushing yards per game) and one offensive touchdown. The line is going to be tested against South Carolina's defense which has only allowed 101.5 rushing yards per game and 249.5 offensive yards per game in four SEC games in 2012.
LSU Offense Must ProduceThe LSU defense showed it can keep the score of the game low in the first two SEC games this season, but it needs more help from the Tigers' offense. In SEC games, LSU is currently 11th of 14 teams in time of possession (27:53) and 12th in third down conversions (22.6 percent). What both of those stats suggest is that LSU's defense is spending too much time on the field. The changes on the offensive line have been accompanied by red zone turnovers and drops by the receivers. If the rushing game can't get back on track, it will be another long day for LSU.
Marcus Lattimore, Defensive Line Lead GamecocksWhile Connor Shaw is an efficient dual-threat quarterback for South Carolina, the real driving force of their offense is running back Marcus Lattimore who leads the team in rushing yards (549), touchdowns (9) and receptions (18). On defense, Jadeveon Clowney leads the team with 11.5 tackles for loss and 6.5 sacks. South Carolina has 49 tackles for loss and 25 sacks this season, with the starting defensive line being responsible for 22.5 tackles for loss and 12.5 sacks. The frightening thing about this game is that limiting the production of Lattimore and Clowney is no guarantee of a good result.
It's not hard to imagine LSU being considered a real underdog in this matchup and that might be just what the Tigers need to bounce back.
As an LSU fan, I am really hoping for a spark from one of the players which could salvage the season before it is too late.
More from Patrick Johnston:
Stats from LSU Sports.net, Gamecocks Online.com