Tigers win SEC home opener, 28-16
BATON ROUGE, La. - Saturday afternoon was not what Steve Spurrier has become used to when he travels to LSU.
Spurrier had an 11-1 record against the Tigers (4-0, 2-0 SEC) while he was head coach at Florida. That record was the last thing on his mind after his No. 12 Gamecocks (3-1, 1-1 SEC) fell to No. 2 LSU, 28-16.
"We didn't run the ball very well," Spurrier said. "We're not a very smart bunch ... we had some chances."
The difference in the game was without a doubt the running game. LSU outgained South Carolina 290-17 on the ground, the most rushing yards the Tigers have gained since they posted 360 against Ole Miss in November 2004.
Jacob Hester led the Tigers' rushing attack, picking up 88 yards on 17 carries. Wide receiver Trindon Holliday added 73 yards and backup quarterback Ryan Perrilloux carried eight times for 59 yards.
LSU's efficient running made up for a lackluster performance by starting quarterback Matt Flynn.
Flynn, who missed the Tigers last game against Middle Tennessee because of a high ankle sprain, completed only eight of his 19 pass attempts and threw his first interception of the season in the fourth quarter.
Despite his struggles, Flynn's night wasn't as bad as the night of South Carolina's starting quarterback Blake Mitchell.
Mitchell's night ended early after Spurrier pulled him in the third quarter in favor of freshman Chris Smelley, who Spurrier said will start next week against Mississippi State.
"We had to try something different," Spurrier said. "Blake couldn't even catch catch the snap. He dropped two or three snaps. One went through his hands. We're going to give [Smelley] a chance next week and see what happens."
Smelley completed 12-of-26 passes for 174 yards after replacing Mitchell.
Once again, LSU's defense proved it was one of the best and most physical in the country.
The Tigers' defense gave up 244 passing yards, but it took South Carolina 42 attempts to reach that total.
"Considering it was a quality opponent, I thought our team played well," said LSU coach Les Miles. "As we continued to have bad weather, we went through the last two quarters with our footing a little shaky."
Miles said he believes the field conditions took away the speed and quickness advantage his defense had.
The Tigers basically shut down the Gamecocks' rushing duo of Cory Boyd and Mike Davis. Boyd and Davis entered the game No. 8 and No. 9 in rushing in the SEC but only managed 27 yards on 22 carries Saturday.
PLAYER OF THE GAME: Danny McCray ... The LSU safety anchored the Tigers defense with 11 tackles and one interception.
PLAY OF THE GAME: Colt David's touchdown ... LSU's junior kicker scored the first touchdown of his career on a fake field goal attempt near the end of the first half. The play gave LSU a 21-7 lead and brought even more life to the crowd of 92,530.
NEXT UP: LSU travels to New Orleans to face Tulane on Saturday, while South Carolina returns home to host Mississippi State.
NOTES: South Carolina became only the second team to score in the first quarter in Tiger Stadium under LSU coach Les Miles ... LSU has not lost at home since September 2005 ... LSU has won its past three meetings against South Carolina ... Saturday's game was the fourth time in four games this season that the LSU defense has forced its opponent to switch quarterbacks midway through the game.