Dickson has breakout game versus Gamecocks

Early Doucet, Brandon LaFell, Jared Mitchell, and Richard Dickson.

The above list comprises LSU's leading receivers in each of its first four games. Dickson, of course, is the odd Tiger out, considering he is a tight end. But against South Carolina, it was his four receptions for 39 yards and a score that comprised half of Matt Flynn's completions and more than half of LSU's  yards through the air.


Half and more than half in that last sentence are both correct. Flynn finished the game hitting on just 8-of-19 passes for 70 yards and recorded his first interception of the season. But Dickson tried to bail him out whenever possible.


"I think the tight ends are becoming a much bigger piece of the passing," LSU Head Coach Les Miles said. "I think Dickson is a part of that. We called his play down at the goal line. He made a nice play on the ball. I think he made a nice couple of key grabs in long yardage situations. I think that he will – I think that at that position, not only him but other guys will step forward and make plays."


After two fairly uneventful possessions to begin the game, the Tigers finally began scoring on their third try. Facing a second and nine, Flynn hit Dickson for a 24-yard gain and, two plays later, Trindon Holliday rushed in from 33 yards out to tie things up. On LSU's next drive of the night, Dickson hauled in a one-yard pass at the back of the end zone to put the Tigers ahead for good.


Dickson echoed Miles' comments about his position becoming more utilized in the offense.


"I think it's pretty much obvious that we've been better every week," Dickson said. "We come out and are able to execute more things each week. Everyone is coming around. Everyone is learning the offense. We are just getting better and better."


It wouldn't be until the third quarter that Dickson caught another pass, accounting for a six-yard gain on a second and seven. His final catch resulted in a first down, an eight-yard pass that came on a third and four. Despite the fact that LSU's offense was ruled by the run against the Gamecocks, the Tigers leading rusher, Jacob Hester, still found it easy to compliment his aerial counterpart.


"Richard's been playing well the last couple of weeks," Hester said. "He's one of the best catchers on the team. Coach (Gary) Crowton and him have been studying it and he caught the ball when he had to catch the ball. A couple of key catches, like you said. The touchdown was huge and the third down conversion. So Richard's coming along really well and Coach Crowton keeps giving the ball to the guys that really work for it."


Season highs and career highs were plentiful for Dickson.  His four catches doubled his previous career high of two in a game. His 39 yards were the most he has had in a game this season and, maybe most importantly for the Tigers last Saturday, he recorded the first touchdown of his LSU career.


With 2:36 remaining in the first quarter, LSU found itself in a position it had not been in until Game Four of the 2007 season – trailing. The Gamecocks became the first team to lead the Tigers in a contest when Mike Davis capped a 12-play, 67-yard drive that lasted nearly six minutes with a one-yard score. Of course, the advantage didn't last long, one minute and 30 seconds to be exact. 


LSU's defense forced a three-and-out on South Carolina's ensuing possession, and the Tigers would take over on their own 44 yard line following a punt and a kick catching interference penalty. The ultimate result of that possession would be a nine-play, 56-yard drive that ended with Dickson grabbing a one-yard pass from Flynn in the back of the North End zone.


LSU retook the lead and, despite many opportunities for South Carolina to barge back into the contest, the Gamecocks never again knotted up the score or gained the advantage.  The Tigers perfect season thus far was preserved and LSU now has not lost at home in 16 tries. Its last defeat within the confines of Tiger Stadium was in Miles' home debut against Tennessee. That Monday night game in 2005, the only Monday night game ever in Tiger Stadium, was one that saw the Tigers jump out to a 21-0 halftime lead only to fall in overtime by three points. Such a situation is one that Dickson says he does not ever want to experience in Baton Rouge.


"We don't want to lose at home," Dickson said. "We have that legacy here at Death Valley. It's one of the hardest places to play. We try to come out and play hard every time we play here."


That attitude would extend to playing hard at Tiger Stadium during the day, a venture that has not been an overwhelmingly successful one over the course of the last 47 years. With their win against South Carolina, the Tigers are now 17-21-3 at home during daylight hours. 


The sun will most definitely be shining next week when LSU takes on Tulane. At least it will suppose to be according to the 11 a.m. start time. Dickson and the Tigers are certainly no strangers to playing there and will be looking to go 5-0 for the first time since 2003.


"It's going to be a fun game back in the Superdome," Dickson said. "We were there for the Sugar Bowl last year, which was a fun game. But we still have to come out and play hard. Anybody can beat anybody. We'll still have to practice hard and prepare like we do for everybody."

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