The always quotable Les Miles said it right after the game. “This is truly a place where opponents’ dreams go to die.”
For No. 3 South Carolina, that would be the dream of an undefeated season, though we should make an amendment to Miles’ proclamation after his ninth-ranked Tigers held off the Gamecocks 23-21 Saturday night. South Carolina can still win the SEC East.It can still win the SEC championship and it can still in theory compete for a BCS championship with a little bit of help.
All of those goals are still within sight, but the path to Miami for the 2013 BCS title got a tad fuzzier for the Gamecocks. For LSU, there’s still hope after a 14-6 loss to No. 4 Florida in the Swamp in Week 6. Not much really changes for both of these teams, but yet another win in Death Valley shows that, no, you can never count out LSU no matter what happens to be ailing the team that week.
In fact, Miles has nearly a perfect record following a loss. Rebounding is as much a tradition for Miles and LSU as Mike the Tiger and tailgating. Not to mention the tradition of a great defensive line. South Carolina ran all over Georgia a week ago, but was only able to put up 34 yards on the ground against the Tigers tonight. In fact, LSU’s offense outgained South Carolina’s by almost 200 yards (406-211) on almost 20 more plays.
It was a tight game, but LSU controlled the line of scrimmage on both sides.
The Tigers’ next three games don’t provide any time to celebrate. Next up is surprising Texas A&M, which is currently taking care of business against Louisiana Tech. Then comes the Nov. 3 home game against top-ranked Alabama before another home game against Mississippi State. LSU then ends the year with two rivalry games against Ole Miss and Arkansas.
Based on all of that, nothing would seem guaranteed for LSU, but Miles’ team is nevertheless in a position to get back to Atlanta for the SEC championship; a loss to the Gamecocks would have put a major damper on those goals.
Speaking of USCe, a critical game at Florida awaits next week. Though Georgia is still in the mix for a SEC East title, Week 8’s match-up in the Swamp could prove critical for the two East division favorites.
Tonight was no doubt a huge win for LSU — it was certainly a bigger win for the Tigers than it was a loss for the Gamecocks — but with the overall level of football these two teams are playing, mainly on defense, it may not be the last time they meet this season.