Final grades

South Carolina gets graded in the classroom and on the football field. The feature returns for its second season as we take a look at each aspect of the game. Today we look at the results of the disappointing 23-21 loss to LSU Saturday night in Baton Rouge.

Quarterback

Connor Shaw was not Connor Shaw against LSU. Shaw completed just 19-of-34 passes for 177 yards and two scores. He also threw two interceptions; the first led to LSU's eventual game-winning field goal and the second ended the game. The most disappointing statistic of the night for Shaw is finishing -1 rushing. Shaw was sacked four times and never was able to run the ball like he's capable of against a swarming LSU defensive front seven. Not a good day for the Gamecock quarterback, but he does deserve credit for leading the team down the field at the end of the game to give his team a chance.

Final grade – C-

Running back


Marcus Lattimore was practically non-existent Saturday night and that is not good for South Carolina. Lattimore carried the ball 13 times for 35 yards, but was able to get in the end zone for the tenth time this season. Still, Carolina has to get more out of Lattimore and the running game, though it is hard to blame Lattimore for the lack of yardage.

Final grade – B-

Wide receivers


LSU boasted on of the best pass defenses in the nation, but South Carolina did fairly decent when they opened it up and started throwing the ball. Ace Sanders had five catches and a score, and Bruce Ellington had four catches and a score. Damiere Byrd had an early drop that cost the Gamecocks a drive, but overall they did fairly well. The receivers combined for 11 catches, 102 yards and two scores.

Final Grade – B

Tight ends


Justice Cunningham had a huge catch, as did Jerell Adams. Cunningham finished with three catches for 36 yards and Adams had one catch for 16 yards. Rory Anderson dropped a touchdown pass and the blocking by the ends was not very good. Those two completions give the tight ends a better score than they probably deserve.

Final grade – B-

Offensive line


The pass protection was fairly decent most of the game, but that was about it. Several times linemen and linebackers went through untouched, like Sam Mongomery's sack in the fourth quarter, but there were times that Shaw had time to throw the ball. The run blocking was horrible. We all knew how good LSU's defensive front was, but Carolina got absolutely nothing going on the ground.

Final grade – D

Defensive line


This defensive line is graded on the highest standards of the team, simply because they have been that good. As good as the line was last week, this week LSU just shoved it down their throats. Sure they were on the field a lot throughout the game, but LSU came out on their first drive and shoved it down Carolina's throat. LSU rushed for 258 yards, something that is unheard of against this defensive front. LSU went right at the strength of the defense and there was no response or adjustments. Also, one of the nation's best units in sacks, the defensive line got a big goose egg.

Final grade – D-

Linebackers


Thank you linebackers. If not for the linebackers, LSU would have easily surpassed 300 yards rushing. The linebackers were able to clog up some holes with Shaq Wilson recording 14 tackles and the only sack, and DeVonte Holloman and Reginald Bowens each recorded eight. The linebackers doe have to share some of the blame for multiple long third down conversions with max protection in the secondary. Several times Carolina chose to just send three linemen at Zach Mettenberger against max protection and he was still able to find holes all over the zone.

Final grade – B-

Secondary


The secondary did decent, mainly because LSU just didn't need to throw the ball. Mettenberger complete just 12-of-25 passes, but several times he just missed receivers or the ball was batted down. Most of the night the secondary played a soft zone and Mettenberger took what they gave him. There were a couple of nice plays, including Jimmy Legree's interception, and they stepped up to make some tackles when the LSU running backs reached the third level.

Final grade – C-

Special teams


The kickoff team continues to be horrendous. Adam Yates failed to record a touchback and LSU returned the ball two times for 59 yards, an average of 29 yards per return. The punt coverage was great, allowing just six yards on three returns, but Tyler Hull averaged just 37 yards per punt.

Ace Sanders made another huge play on a punt return, running it 50 yards in his only attempt. Bruce Ellington returned three kicks for just 47 yards, an average of 15 yards per return. As with everybody else, not a good day for special teams.

Final grade – D+


Inside The AU Tigers Top Stories