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Grading Out: LSU vs. South Carolina

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How did the units perform vs. South Carolina?

Quarterback

Jake: A. Admittedly grading on a curve, and this is also relative to what the team needs. 18/28 for 226, 2 TD/0 INT is exactly what this team needs, and while it will get harder (starting this weekend) Harris showed a lot of promising things this past weekend. Finally on the same page with his WR's, great touch on the TD to Dural. It was the best performance by an LSU QB in awhile.

Paul: A. Best game of his young career, Harris looks to be settling in. He's mostly composed and mostly making very good decisions. Let's face it, in our offense, he's not likely to be a 500 yard total offense machine, so I'll take half of that with no turnovers and a couple TDs.

Running Back

Jake: A. Leonard Fournette didn't lead the team in yards. That says a lot about the RB depth on this team. Guice is electric, and is so shifty along with being so hard to tackle. He had 161 yards and the average per carry was 10.1. Darrel Williams was his usual strong self as well, with 6.1 YPC. And of course, Fournette had 158 yards and an 87 yard TD.

Paul: A. For the first week, they get a high grade not solely based off the efforts of Fournette, who I actually thought had a fairly poor game. Yes, yes, Fournette still broke an 87 yarder, but we well know 80+ yard runs are sustainable, no matter how regularly he's done it. Take that out and he's sitting at 3.3 YPC. That's an ugly day. He missed having Moore in there, which clearly rattled him. But the unit keeps an A, because the other backs stood up and impressed. Guice was the best player of the unit on the day.

Wide Receiver

Jake: B+. Dural went over 100 yards and had a TD, Dupre made some nice catches and had a TD himself. This is what the team needs from those two over the rest of the season. Would like to see a few more WR's get involved a bit more often, but overall it was a strong day from them.

Paul: C. Look, this is an improvement, but there were still easy drops and only two players actually contributing. It's hard not to be an improvement over last week, but I'm not gonna rocket them up to A status for merely doing what they should have been doing all along.

Offensive Line

Jake: A. Great performance. Their best in awhile. Harris had a clean pocket for almost the whole game, and they laid out some great holes for the backs to run through.

Paul: B. Allowed one sack. Committed one hold and one false start. Also Pocic got a personal foul that was offset. They mashed in the run game, where LSU racked up 400+ yards on the ground. Overall, your offense doesn't gain 600+ yards with poor OL play, but they weren't helping Fournette a ton in the first half either.

Defensive Line

Jake: B-. They were okay. Good against the run all day. But also didn't get much pressure  on the QB, and that contributed to some of the successful Carolina pass plays.

Paul: C. Only 2.5 TFL all day against one of the conference's worst offenses. Stingy in the ground game again, but Ed O. was brought here to turn our DL into attacking menaces. They show that some and then move back into being a bit more stationary.

Linebackers

Jake: B+. Solid effort as usual. Beckwith was himself, and Debo's really turned into a good player as well. Not many opportunities for them to blitz

Paul: B. South Carolina only ran 50 plays, so there weren't exactly many tackles to go around. Beckwith lead the team with 5 but had lapses in coverage. Debo got a good pressure and QBH but didn't do much else. I don't believe our team has any other linebackers.

Defensive Backs

Jake: C+. LSU may only face 1 or 2 WR's the rest of the way better than Pharoh Cooper. It's hard to put a blanket on that guy. But there were still too many poor coverages and busts overall. They weren't bad by any stretch, just not as good as they should have been.

Paul: D. You know what, no. I'm tired of excusing it. This unit has been trash almost all season. I'll allow the performance vs. State against one of the nation's best QBs. But this is yet another 19th string QB managing to find plenty of holes in our secondary. Notably, they are constant victims to allowing big plays and Dwayne Thomas should probably find himself some pine after this week's performance. Complaints often arose with Kevin Steele that his secondary gets confused, blows coverages... and it's happening. Somehow Jamal Adams has turned into a non factor, as well. LSU is quite fortunate to have played only one team with a semi-viable passing attack. What will Ole Miss, A&M, hell, Western Kentucky do to this unit? Shore it up or pain is coming.