PREVIEW: LSU/South Carolina - The Matchups

The No. 2-ranked LSU Tigers head into Saturday's clash with 12th-ranked South Carolina as 18-point favorites in Tiger Stadium. Here, breaks down the head to head matchups and tell you why LSU is such a heavy favorite.

LSU rushing offense vs. South Carolina rushing defense

While some Tiger fans worry themselves sick about the LSU rushing attack and senior Jacob Hester getting every start, people need to relax. The Tigers are running the ball as well as anyone in the league, averaging 231 yards per game behind a makeshift offensive line that was supposed to be the team's Achilles' heel. Not exactly the fact. The Tigers rotate a number of running backs into the game, and it all begins with Hester. Keiland Williams, Charles Scott, Richard Murphy, and Trindon Holliday as well as quarterbacks Matt Flynn, Ryan Perrilloux and Andrew Hatch all get their turn running the ball. South Carolina is 92nd in the nation against the run. The Gamecocks are allowing 192 yards per game. Not a good omen for South Carolina.

Advantage: LSU



LSU passing offense vs. South Carolina passing defense

Ryan Perrilloux proved his worth last weekend stepping in for an injured Matt Flynn. In Flynn's absence, Perrilloux completed 20 of 25 passes for 298 yards and three touchdowns. All of that and he remains the backup. LSU can throw the ball as well as they run it and have a number of weapons to which to throw. Even though Early Doucet probably won't play with a groin pull, LSU has too many weapons to catch the ball. Terrance Toliver, Demetrius Byrd, and Jared Mitchell all burst onto the scene in a big way last week against Middle Tennessee. South Carolina is actually pretty good against the pass, but the edge goes to the Tigers.

Advantage: LSU



South Carolina rushing offense vs. LSU rushing defense

What is it going to take for LSU to lead the nation in rushing defense? They probably need to play Notre Dame, which is a big reason why Penn State is the No. 1 team against the run. Still though, the Tigers are ranked third in the country against the run after holding the Blue Raiders to nine rushing yards last week. LSU is currently allowing just 30 yards per game on the ground. Cory Boyd is an excellent runner. Pair him with Mike Davis and the Gamecocks have a good one-two punch. But can they run on LSU? Probably not.

Advantage: LSU



South Carolina passing offense vs. LSU passing defense

Blake Mitchell, beware. Opposing quarterbacks haven't faired all that well against LSU's attacking defense. The Tigers sacked Middle Tennessee State quarterbacks six times last week and have made a habit of ruining the careers of opposing QBs already this year. Will Mitchell be next? LSU is No. 2 against the pass (98 yards per game) and first in pass efficiency defense, and Craig Steltz leads the nation in interceptions; none of this bodes well for the South Carolina passing attack.

Advantage: LSU



LSU special teams vs. South Carolina special teams

Other than giving up too many yards on kickoff returns, the Tiger special teams has been superb this season. Patrick Fisher has been booting the heck out of punts, and Colt David has been on the money with all field goal and extra point tries. LSU could be better on kick returns, but no one seems to be complaining by the way they are moving the ball on offense. Ryan Succop is a talented specialist and handles both kicking and punting duties.

Advantage: LSU

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