LSU makes final preps for South Carolina

LSU makes final preps for South Carolina
Tiger Stadium (Source: Craig Loper/WAFB-TV)

BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - LSU head coach Ed Orgeron is going to need everything - “Block Out the Noise,” “One Team, One heartbeat,” and more - to right the ship Saturday night against South Carolina.

Junior quarterback Myles Brennan had certainly been playing extremely well in the place of departed icon Joe Burrow but he is injured with what has been reported as a torn abdominal muscle. Orgeron has said the injury is taking longer to heal than expected and Brennan could possibly be sidelined for weeks.

It means all eyes will be on LSU’s two true freshmen quarterbacks. TJ Finley of Ponchatoula, La. will start the game and Max Johnson is also expected to play. Many wonder whether their youthful talent, excitement, and carefree attitude carry the day.

A huge help would be an offensive line that can protect and generate a rushing attack. A 24-yard run by Tyrion Davis-Price against Missouri is LSU’s longest rushing play of the season so far.

LSU’s defense has been in chaos. The joke is that defensive coordinator Bo Pelini has to do his grocery shopping at midnight. He and his Tiger defenders have had about two weeks to clean up the mess that happened in Columbia. The Tigers gave up nearly 600 yards of total offense and 45 points to a redshirt freshman quarterback and a team that, quite frankly, isn’t very good.

Former Georgia quarterback Mike Bobo, Will Muschamp’s college teammate in Athens, left Colorado State as its head coach to become South Carolina’s offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach this year. Collin Hill, who was a quarterback at Colorado State and a South Carolina native, followed Bobo to Columbia.

Hill has thrown for 842 yards and four touchdowns this season. He has been intercepted twice. Senior receiver Shi Smith is averaging more than eight receptions per game. He has a total of 34 catches for 347 yards and three touchdowns. Sophomore running back Kevin Harris is averaging more than 100 yards rushing. He has 81 carries for 409 yards and six touchdowns.

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Next weekend is Halloween, and yet, Saturday will just be LSU’s second home of the season to this point.

There was a COVID quiet across the LSU campus Friday afternoon, with not much of a feeling of energy and excitement of a “Saturday Night in Death Valley” on the way.

When LSU was last in Tiger Stadium in late September, the Tigers hadn’t lost a game since late November of 2018, enjoying a very extended celebration for the 2019 National Championship team.

Then, Mississippi State visited Baton Rouge as a heavy underdog and shocked the Tigers. State’s offense was explosive that day. It hasn’t done much in the three games since.

After LSU took care of Vanderbilt decisively in Nashville, the Tigers again allowed another heavy underdog to trip them up, as Missouri won a 45-41 shootout in Columbia.

Will LSU finally get its act together against South Carolina? Will LSU be excited and begin to turn things around? Or, is this season, like almost everything else in the year 2020, just one big bucket of yuck?

LSU is still favored by six points. The game is scheduled to start at 6 p.m. and will air on ESPN.

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