BATON ROUGE, La. - South Carolina dropped its first game of the season on Saturday night losing 23-21 to LSU at Tiger Stadium. Read what the players and coaches from both sides had to say following the game.
Wide receiver Bruce Ellington and the rest of the Gamecocks couldn't muster much on the offensive side of the football in the 23-21 loss to LSU at Tiger Stadium. The Gamecocks had only 211 yards of total offense.
South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier
Opening statement ... "Tonight I realized why LSU was preseason No. 1. They're a big, strong team. They can run the ball and stop the run. That was the biggest difference in the game probably. I don't know how many rushing yards they had, but I know we didn't have many at all. I give those guys credit. We weren't really sharp offensively. However, I guess we managed two tests then, perhaps in some nature. It wasn't a good offensive game. They deserved to beat us, there's no question about that. I give those guys credit."
On QB Connor Shaw ... "I don't know if he got hit in the head tonight or not. I kept passing G.A. (Mangus) and asking, 'Did he get hit in the head somewhere?' Some of his decision-making was a little off. In the first half, we had a guy running a deep run on our sideline, and he threw it to the other sideline. It was pretty irritating when he had a chance to hang one in the end zone, and he threw it to the other side. He just got confused. Anyway, I guess sometimes that happens. Connor (Shaw) has played beautifully all year. He had some good plays tonight, but he wasn't as sharp as he's been in the past. Hopefully, he can get back to it."
On LSU ... "They were running much better than we thought they would. We didn't run it here as well as we hoped we would. That was probably the huge difference in the game right there. I was hoping their little field goals might not add up. I guess it came down to the long run when they made that last touchdown. It ended up being the difference-maker. We've played some good defenses, but they're really good. They were really good tonight. They weren't that good against Florida. They haven't been very good, but they were good tonight. That's football. Sometimes the team gets a little bit more fire and energy, and they have it. They had it tonight; there's no question about it. They beat us. They ran it; we couldn't run it. That was probably the huge difference in the game. We were ready to play, we have no excuses. We have no excuses whatsoever. They outplayed us and outhit us."
South Carolina player quotes
QB Connor Shaw
On the interception to Eric Reid... "Yeah, I was off balance. I should have flipped my hips and set my feet. I just kind of rushed the throw, and it got away from me."
On how the lack of a running attack affected the offense... "Yeah, I think it stunned us for the first half. We couldn't really establish it early on, and that's usually what we've been doing this season. I thought we left a lot of points on the board today."
On the physicality of the LSU defense... "They came out very physical, I don't know how strong we came out. But like I said, we had chances. We just left them on the board."
On why South Carolina wasn't able to establish a running game... "You know, just a good D-line. One of the best D-line's we've seen, just (one of the) best defenses we've seen, probably ever. We've just got to keep working. I think we could have got it going if we did some different things. We've just got to keep working, and we'll be alright."
On the strengths of the LSU defensive front... [/b] "They do a good job of using their hands, all of them. Of course their two defensive ends, they're great players, but the two defensive tackles are the ones that make the D-line go. Just a great D-line, probably the best we've seen."
On still controlling their own destiny in the SEC... "Definitely, and that's what we talked about. All of our goals are still there, and we can accomplish them."
On tonight's game... "Our front seven didn't come to play. We gave up too many yards and too many third down conversions. We can't win like that."
On South Carolina's defensive effort... "Some guys came out to play, but some guys didn't. It may have been because of injuries. It may be because they were scared. We will address that in practice. We can't come out against Florida like that."
Defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward
On South Carolina's run defense... "It's not just on the defensive line. We have 11 guys on defense. We missed quite a few tackles today. (LSU) plays physical football. We knew that coming in. We thought we were capable of stopping it. We definitely know we have to go back to the drawing board.
On LSU's passing attack... "We knew (LSU) would take one or two shots downfield. We knew going in were going to try to shut down the short passes. But our ultimate goal is to stop the run, and we didn't do that."
On South Carolina's red zone defense... "We try to make sure we raise our level when we get in the red zone. We were in there too many times. I thought we did well when we were down there."
LSU head coach Les Miles
Opening Statement... "First of all, hats off to a very game performance by South Carolina. I felt that they played their hearts out. It was a very competitive game. They are a talented team. Our football team, coming off of the Florida game, just could not bear to do anything but win. They performed well and practiced hard all week. It took a team (effort), it really did. We rushed for some yards. We finally got some possession time, and we finally were pretty good on third downs. The defense went out there, stopped and stymied, a very good South Carolina offense. Special teams did what they needed to do. I liked how Jeremy Hill played. I really thought that he had a big night. I enjoyed the two freshmen on the offensive line (Vadal Alexander and Trai Turner) playing in their first significant season. Eric Reid's interception in the back end is just what we needed. Yahoo!"
On Tiger Stadium... "Let me tell you. That was Death Valley. That was the place where opponent's dreams come to die. It was spectacular. It started early, and it went late. It was with us the whole night. It was spectacular. I recognize the advantage that this team had in this stadium."
On the play of the offensive line and the offense... "I thought that Stud (offensive coordinator Greg Studrawa) did a great job of getting them going. Josh Dworaczyk goes in there and gives us exactly what we needed at the left tackle. He is a veteran and understood what he needed to do. He did not overcommit in his moves, and I felt that he did a great job. When we rush the football and control the clock, (we) get our snaps and keep the defense off of the field. We're a whole different team, that is what happened tonight."
On the team's improvements... "First of all, third downs. We were consistent on third down, and we rushed the football. We would get four or five yards and come back and do it again. I thought that Zach (Mettenberger) was good, minus one throw. When we play like that, we are pretty good."
On the type of game... "It really was a street fight on both sides. I'd like to distance myself from the opponent a bit more."
LSU player quotes
QB Zach Mettenberger
On tonight's game ... "I think we executed a lot better. That showed on the scoreboard and in the yards we put out. Really, that's what we should have been doing all year because we knew we could do it. From here on out, we just got to show up Monday with the same mentality and attitude we had this past week and just keep looking to get better."
On calling a team meeting last night ... "Yeah, there was a meeting. A couple of other team leaders and myself called a meeting. Just to kind of make sure the team had the right mentality and make sure they were ready for the game tonight."
On offensive line ... "You look at it, we only have two guys starting that started the first game with La'el [Collins] and P.J. [Lonergan]. I thought the old man at left tackle [Josh Dworaczyk] had a hell of a game, he was on [Jadeveon] Clowney all night. The two young guys, Vadal [Alexander] and Trai [Turner] played lights out. I think they're going to be a good combo in the future on the right side for sure."
RB Jeremy Hill
On whether the effort has been there all year ... "I think the effort was there. You watch the film, and guys are playing hard. It was just one guy would mess up a play. We just kind of put it all together tonight."
On being patient behind other running backs ... "I think that's something the coaches preach. They do a good job of keeping everyone patient. This team has a lot of depth. They recruit well every year. Once you come here, you know you're going to have to wait your turn to play. Once you get that opportunity, you've got to take advantage of it and run with it."
On success on the ground ... "I think we kind of wore those guys down. They got tired as the game went on so we just kept running down hill, just hitting them hard, and eventually we were going to break one. That's kind of what I did"
LB Lamin Barrow
On playing as a team ... "We feel like whenever we are on the field we love each other, have each other's back and are a brotherhood. It just works for us."
On containing Marcus Lattimore ... "Chief preached to us all week to keep him bottled up. He is a great runner, but if you stop him and you hit him early, he hampers down. We just tried to stop his feet. He made some good plays here and there, but as a defense we rallied to him and shut him down."
On the home crowd ... "It was beautiful. Congrats to the fans. This is the best game we have had all season. The fans kept us alive and kept us motivated. Running out from the tunnel for the first time was beautiful. It was a great feeling."
DE Sam Montgomery
On tonight's game ... "It was one of those things where I just wanted to get back to the basics. It seemed like the right time coming out with South Carolina coming in No. 3, my mom was at the game for the first time this season and there were so many things to play for. It was great just to play the game."
On working with the offense ... "Even though our offense scored some points and them being out there for long drives gave us time to rest, it didn't matter if they scored or not. We had their backs till the very end."
On his end of the game sack ... "The quarterback tried to break down very gently, but then I sacked him. From that moment on, the game-winning sack is just like a punch in the face at the end of the night. It was one of those things that got me very excited. Even though it was loud in the stadium, it was quiet in my world."
All quotes compiled by LSU Sports Information