BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) -- LSU coach Nick Saban was worried all
week about a letdown.
Marcus Randall filled in for injured Matt Mauck and helped LSU stay unbeaten in the SEC.
Coming off a big victory over Florida, Saban cautioned his team
about the big losses that had beset the Tigers (No. 12 ESPN/USA Today, No. 14 AP) after the few times
when they'd beaten the Gators. And for the first half of Saturday
night's game against South Carolina, it appeared that Saban's fears
would come true.
"Coming into this game, we didn't handle success very well,''
Saban said. "But we turned it around in the second half.''
Marcus Randall hit his stride in the third quarter and so did
LSU's defense, as the Tigers beat the Gamecocks 38-14.
Making his first start at quarterback because of an injury to
Matt Mauck, Randall completed 4 of 10 passes for 52 yards and ran
five times for another 39 yards and a touchdown to help LSU (6-1,
3-0 SEC) score 25 unanswered points in the third quarter.
"Well, I would say that was a nice third quarter, and one of
the best I have ever been around,'' Saban said.
Demetrius Hookfin had two interceptions, and the Tigers
outgained South Carolina (5-3, 3-2) in yardage 132-1 during the
period. LSU held the ball for 10:52.
Mauck is out indefinitely after injuring his right foot in the
Tigers' victory over Florida on Oct. 12.
"I thought that their quarterback, Randall, did a great job,''
South Carolina coach Lou Holtz said. "I congratulate that young
man. He stepped in and played one heck of a fine football game. He
really ran the team well.''
After bumbling through the first half and trailing 14-6, the
Tigers scored on their first possession of the second half. The
58-yard drive included three third-down conversions before Randall
scored on a 12-yard run. He then hit Michael Clayton for the
2-point conversion, tying the score at 14.
Hookfin intercepted Corey Jenkins' pass on South Carolina's next
possession, and less than four minutes later, John Corbello kicked
his third field goal -- a 37-yarder -- to give LSU a three-point
With LSU facing fourth-and-7, Corbello apparently kicked his
fourth field goal of the game from 44 yards, but the Gamecocks were
flagged for roughing the kicker, setting the Tigers up with first
down at the South Carolina 13. Shyrone Carey took the handoff and
scored to make it 24-14.
Just 15 seconds later, Hookfin latched onto another
interception, taking it 10 yards to give LSU a 31-14 lead going
into the fourth quarter.
"The quarterback floated it up there in the air, and I went and
got it,'' Hookfin said.
Hookfin had a third interception that he returned for a
touchdown, but it was nullified by a penalty.
Domanick Davis closed out the scoring with a 5-yard touchdown
run in the fourth quarter to make it 38-14.
Randall completed 12 of 23 passes for 183 yards. Davis ran for
113 yards on 26 carries.
"We moved the ball in the first half, but we kept shooting
ourselves in the foot and getting penalties,'' Randall said. "We
straightened things out in the second half.''
South Carolina, which had won four straight, including three SEC
games, had little trouble with the Tigers in the first half, and
LSU didn't live up to its ranking of No. in the country in total
After giving up an average of 207.8 yards per game in the first
six games, the Tigers allowed South Carolina to gain 212 by
halftime, including 139 yards rushing.
LSU, which rushed for only 67 yards in the first half, drew
eight penalties for 62 yards before halftime.
Because of the second-half turnaround, LSU ended up outgaining
the Gamecocks 414 to 275.
"Coach Saban told us at halftime that we weren't playing our
type of ball,'' said LSU cornerback Corey Webster. "We weren't
focusing on the little things.''
Jenkins completed 5 of 12 passes for 62 yards and a touchdown.
He was intercepted twice and sacked twice. Jenkins also ran for 41
yards on 15 carries.