Gamecock Gamechangers

South Carolina struggled on both sides of the ball Saturday night in a 23-21 loss to LSU in Baton Rouge. We take a look at Saturday night's top performers as well as the five biggest plays in the loss.

5. Marcus Lattimore

It is never a good thing for South Carolina when Marcus Lattimore is this low on the list. Lattimore had just 13 carries for 35 yards, but had an impressive touchdown run to give Carolina the lead midway through the third quarter. Lattimore also caught four passes for 23 yards.

4. Connor Shaw

Like Lattimore, any time Shaw is this low on the list it is not a good thing. Shaw struggled all night and was never able to get his ground game going. LSU has tremendous speed on defense and Shaw had no way to combat it. The zone read play that has been the bread and butter for this offense was never effective and rarely ran tonight. Shaw completed 19-of-34 passes for 177 yards and two scores, but threw two interceptions that included one that led to what would be the game-winning field goal for LSU in the fourth quarter.

3. Justice Cunningham

Cunningham had just three catches for 36 yards, but they were big receptions. He had an unbelievable 29-yard reception when he went up between two LSU defenders to haul in a pass and take it down to the two yard line. He would also have a three yard reception early in the game on third down for the first Carolina first down of the game.

2. Ace Sanders

Ace Sanders was one of the lone bright spots from an offensive standpoint. Sanders led the team in receptions and yards with five catches for 49 yards and caught the first touchdown pass of the game. He also had an electrifying 50-yard return that was called back somewhat on a penalty. The return set Carolina up for a go-ahead score

Player of the Game

Shaq Wilson

From a defensive standpoint, the senior linebacker from Florida was one of the few bright spots. Wilson was all over the field, finishing with a game-high 14 tackles, including the only sack by the Carolina defense. The defense was on the field a lot, but did not help themselves by failing to get off the field on third downs. It was an ugly night by one of the premier defenses in the country, but Wilson did his part to keep the game within striking distance.

Plays of the Game

5. Bowens makes stop

After a three-and-out by Carolina on the first drive of the game, LSU took the ball and drove right down the field. The Tigers were primed to put the ball in the end zone facing third-and-goal from the two. Kenny Hilliard got the ball and appeared to have an open lane to the end zone, but Reginald Bowens stepped in the hole and stood Hilliard up at the one. LSU would attempt to go for it on fourth down, but a false start penalty would push them back and they settled for a field goal.

4. Cunningham's sensational catch

Trailing 10-7 in the third quarter, Carolina took over near mid-field after an Ace Sanders punt return. Facing second-and-four on the LSU 31, Shaw rolled to his right and threw back across the field to Justice Cunningham on a wheel route. Cunningham went up with two defenders converging and snatched the ball out of the air and took it down to the two yard line. Lattimore would punch it in from there to give Carolina a 14-10 lead.

3. Shaw converts

Trailing 23-14 late in the game, Carolina knew they had to strike in a hurry. Aided by an LSU personal foul, Carolina drove deep into Tiger territory, but Shaw was sacked by Barkevious Mingo for a nine-yard loss. Facing 4th-and-12, Shaw found Jerell Adams over the middle for a first down all the way to the one. Carolina would score on the next play as Shaw hit Bruce Ellington to give them a chance for the win.

2. Sanders does it again

Ace Sanders is turning into a human highlight reel returning punts. LSU punter Brad Wing has been spectacular, allowing opponents to return punts a total of two yards entering Saturday's game. Wing gave Sanders an opportunity to return one and Sanders nearly took it the distance. Sanders bobbed and weaved down the field for a 50-yard return deep into LSU territory. That would lead to the Lattimore touchdown run.

Play of the game

Legree picks Mettenberger

South Carolina got absolutely nothing going on its opening two drives and LSU was driving to add on to a 3-0 lead. Mettenberger tried to throw a quick slant, but he stared the receiver down and Jimmy Legree broke on it. He intercepted the pass and nearly took it the distance for his second touchdown, but was taken down at the LSU one. The return went 70 yards and Ace Sanders would score two plays later to give Carolina a 7-3 lead.

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