Hills finished with 124 yards and two touchdowns in his breakout performance, and the ninth-ranked Tigers handed No. 3 South Carolina its first loss of the season, 23-21 on Saturday night.
LSU (6-1, 2-1 Southeastern Conference) substantially outgained South Carolina (6-1, 4-1) 406 yards to 211, but struggled to find the end zone. Three times, LSU settled for field goals after driving at least as far as the Gamecocks 5-yard line, and another drive to the South Carolina 15 stalled on a missed field goal.
But Hill’s long score with 5:03 left gave LSU a nine-point lead that proved to be just enough cushion for the Tigers.
Connor Shaw drove South Carolina for a late TD on a short pass to Bruce Ellington with 1:41 left, and the Gamecocks got the ball once more with 35 seconds left, but LSU’s defense held up.
Zach Mettenberger had the latest in a string of inconsistent performances but made enough big throws to sustain scoring drives, finishing 21 of 25 for 148 yards. He had one costly interception returned 70 yards by Jimmy Legree, setting up South Carolina’s first TD.
Shaw finished 19 of 34 for 177 yards and two TDs, but was intercepted twice, once by Eric Reid to set up LSU’s go-ahead field goal in the fourth quarter, and then on the final desperate play by Craig Loston.
LSU’s second field goal cut South Carolina’s lead to 14-13 early in the fourth quarter, then LSU was right back in scoring range when Shaw overthrew an open receiver and the ball landed in Reid’s lap.
Reid returned it to the Gamecocks 22, then LSU drove to the 5 before settling for its third field goal to take a 16-14 lead.
Marcus Lattimore had a quiet night by his standards, gaining only 35 yards on 13 carries, but had given the Gamecocks a 14-10 lead in the third quarter when he impressively broke Reid’s tackle on a 2-yard scoring run.
Under heavy criticism after failing to produce at touchdown in a loss a week earlier at Florida, LSU’s offense was down to only two opening day starters on the line because right guard Josh Williford was unable to return from a concussion and right tackle Alex Hurst was excused for personal reasons.
Still, the unit opened by driving 69 yards on 16 plays, but settled for a field goal after freshman right tackle Vadal Alexander, elevated to starter two weeks earlier, was flagged for a false start on fourth-and-goal from the 1.
The Tigers were moving on their second series as well until Mettenberger’s only major mistake, on Legree’s interception, which was returned to the LSU 1. That set up Ace Sanders’ short TD catch to give South Carolina a 7-3 lead early in the second quarter.
No. 4 Florida 31,
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The fourth-ranked Florida Gators remained perfect thanks to quarterback Jeff Driskel running the ball better than even Tim Tebow.
Driskel ran for 177 yards and three touchdowns, and the Gators beat Vanderbilt 31-17 on Saturday night to remain undefeated going into their big showdown with No. 3 South Carolina.
The quarterback threw for only 77 yards and ran only 11 times. But the sophomore set the Florida record for yards rushing by a quarterback, topping Tebow’s 166 yards against Mississippi in 2007 on 27 carries.
The Gators (6-0, 5-0 SEC) finished off their last SEC road trip outside of the state of Florida with their 22nd straight win over Vanderbilt.
Florida, which rallied in the second half to beat Texas A&M, Tennessee and LSU already this season, took control early this time. The Gators scored 21 straight points, including 11 in the second quarter where they took the lead for good.
Vanderbilt (2-4, 1-3) now has lost 47 straight against Top Five teams.
The Gators also had three sacks, forced a turnover, blocked a field goal and used a fake punt to put away Vanderbilt. Caleb Sturgis kicked three field goals.
Florida did give up its first points in the fourth quarter this season as Zac Stacy scored on a 1-yard run with 8:57 left, pulling the Commodores within 21-14. Carey Spear’s second field goal, a 22-yarder, with 2:35 left to pull Vanderbilt within 24-17 after Stacy had a Rodgers’ pass go through his hands on third-and-goal.
Mississippi 41, Auburn 20
OXFORD, Miss. — Quarterback Bo Wallace scored four touchdowns rushing, passing and receiving as Mississippi snapped a 16-game Southeastern Conference losing streak with a win over Auburn.
The Rebels (4-3, 1-2) had not won an SEC game since a 42-35 home win over Kentucky in October, 2010. Auburn (1-5, 0-4) has lost six consecutive SEC games and been outscored 62-3 in the fourth quarter.
Wallace finished 17 of 22 for 226 yards, including the decisive touchdown, a 55-yard pass to Jeff Scott with 5:02 remaining to build an insurmountable 34-20 lead. He caught a 25-yard scoring pass from running back Randall Mackey and added scoring runs of 1 and 2 yards, respectively.
Auburn pulled within 24-20 on a 36-yard field goal, by Cody Parkey with 4:56 left in the third quarter. The Tigers managed only one first down in its final five possessions.
Ole Miss finished with 451 yards, with no turnovers, of total offense, including 290 from Wallace. Jeff Scott rushed for 137 yards on 21 carries and added 70 yards on three receptions.
No. 1 Alabama 42,
ST. LOUIS — Eddie Lacy and T.J. Yeldon gave top-ranked Alabama a pair of 100-yard rushers in the same game for the first time this season and the duo combined for five scores in a soggy, weather-delayed 42-10 victory over Missouri on Saturday.
The defending national champion Crimson Tide (6-0, 3-0 SEC) led 21-0 late in the first quarter en route to their 10th straight victory, all by 19 or more points.
They did enough right after that to disappoint the few thousand fans who didn’t leave for good during a 38-minute delay due to lightning.
The Crimson Tide were awaiting the extra-point kick for a 28-0 cushion with 8:40 to go in the half after Yeldon’s second scoring run when the game was halted.
Missouri’s Marcus Murphy set a school single-season record with his fourth kick return for touchdown, a 98-yard kickoff return in the second quarter right after the weather delay. The Tigers (3-4, 0-4) have been outscored 126-55 in their first season in the SEC, and have been competitive to the finish in only last week’s 19-15 loss at home to Vanderbilt
Arkansas 49, Kentucky 7
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Tyler Wilson and Arkansas took out a season’s worth of frustration against Kentucky.
Wilson was 23 of 31 passing for 372 yards and a career-high five touchdowns to lead Arkansas to a win over the Wildcats in a game shortened by severe weather.
Wilson threw a 74-yard touchdown pass to running back Jonathan Williams on the opening play for the Razorbacks, who had 533 yards of total offense before the game was called with 5:08 remaining in the third quarter because of lightning near Razorback Stadium. The second-half suspension followed an hour and six-minute delay in the first half.
The win was the second straight for Arkansas (3-4, 2-2 Southeastern Conference) after a four-game losing streak. Williams finished with three catches for 150 yards and a pair of touchdowns, and running back Dennis Johnson added three touchdowns.
The Wildcats (1-6, 0-4 SEC) were outgained 444-88 in total yards in the first half.
Even before the weather became a factor, Wilson and the Razorbacks had taken complete control against a Kentucky team that had played 14 true freshmen this season. The senior threw four touchdowns in the first half as the Razorbacks built a 42-0 halftime lead. His fifth touchdown pass came in the third quarter on an 18-yard pass to Julian Horton, putting Arkansas up 49-0.