LSU rushing offense vs. South Carolina rushing defense
Considering the fact LSU is down to its third team tailback with Justin Vincent stepping in foe the injured Joseph Addai and Shyrone Carey, things are not looking good. Look for Barrington Edwards to step into the backup role. If the LSU offensive line does not block better on Saturday look for another 56-yard performance like in the Florida game. Plus, USC's run defense is not too shabby giving up just 118 yards per game.
Advantage: South Carolina
LSU passing offense vs. South Carolina passing defense
After watching Matt Mauck and the LSU receiving corps totally out of whack last week, the Tiger coaching staff should be concerned due to the fact the Gamecock pass defense ranks 6th in the nation allowing only 155 yards each contest. Mauck must get confidence early and look for Clayton more for big plays down the field.
Advantage: South Carolina
South Carolina rushing offense vs. LSU rushing defense
LSU is questioning itself in several areas, but rushing defense is not one of them. The Tigers defense is surrendering just 62 yards per game, which ranks 4th nationally. LSU has been effective against the run all season and should contain the Gamecocks freshman tailback.
South Carolina passing offense vs. LSU passing defense:
The Tiger secondary took a step back last week blowing a couple of key coverages giving up two touchdown passes to Florida's Chris Leak. Dondrial Pinkins is an effective passer for South Carolina, but look for Saban to tweak the blitz packages and be ready to harass Pinkins in the backfield. Plus, LSU is rated 6th in the nation in terms of pass efficiency defense.
LSU special teams vs. South Carolina special teams:
Given the fact this was one of the lone bright spots of the Tigers loss last week, LSU gets the nod in special teams. Skyler Green was excellent in Shyrone Carey's absence on punt returns brining back his second punt of the year for a score. Donnie Jones continues to boom punts averaging 48 yards last week on eight kicks. South Carolina kicker Daniel Weaver has made just 5-of-9 field goals and two punters combined are tallying just 40 yards per punt.
Florida came into Tiger Stadium backed in a corner like a caged animal and left with its chest poked out with a big win. LSU has always performed well when they feel as if they have something to prove, and they do. The Tigers control the intangibles because they will go into Williams-Brice Stadium with their pride and top 10 ranking on the line.
This is the game most people predicted LSU would lose heading into the 2003 season. Many gave the Tigers the nod over Florida and predicted a letdown loss in Columbia. The only problem is, the letdown loss was to the Gators. LSU has the superior team in terms of athletes and talent and look for Saban to have his troops ready in a night game on the eastern seaboard.
LSU 23, South Carolina 17