LSU slogs out cold, rainy win over Vols

BATON ROUGE - It was cold and wet, but that barely slowed LSU tailback Derrius Guice.

With teeth chattering because of temperatures in the 30s, Guice gained 97 yards on 24 carries with a touchdown to lead the No. 20 Tigers to a 30-10 victory over Tennessee in a driving rain Saturday night at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville, Tennessee.

"Oh, we just were ready," Guice said on ESPN after the game. "You can't say, 'Oh, I don't want to play because it's cold.' You've got to man up and go."

Guice did keep clicking his teeth during the interview, though.

"I never played in anything like this," he said. "But it doesn't matter what the weather is. You've got to be ready to ball."

LSU (8-3, 5-2 Southeastern Conference) finally put some distance between it and 15-point underdog Tennessee (4-7, 0-7 SEC) in the third quarter. After the Volunteers closed to within 17-10 just before halftime, the Tigers took the second half kickoff and moved 50 yards in nine plays for a touchdown and 23-10 lead as Guice carried seven times for 34 yards with a 3-yard touchdown run. Connor Culp missed his third extra point in two games.

"We were just pounding the ball," Guice said. "We couldn't pass because of the rain, so we just kept pounding and pounding."

LSU quarterback Danny Etling completed 11 of 15 passes for just 81 yards. The Tigers out-rushed the Volunteers by 200 yards to 38. Tailback Darrel Williams added 68 yards on seven carries. Etling rushed nine times for 42 yards.

LSU made it 30-10 later in the third period on a 6-yard touchdown run by Williams with Culp making that extra point. Tennessee failed to convert on second and one, third and one and fourth and one from its 21-yard line to set up the short LSU drive.

The Tigers took a 10-3 lead in the second quarter only because of two muffed punt returns by Tennessee's Marquez Callaway.

Culp put LSU up 3-0 with 6:38 to go in the first quarter on a 30-yard field goal after LSU recovered a fumbled punt at Tennessee's 15-yard line following Callaway's first fumble. Tennessee responded with a 45-yard field goal by Aaron Medley to tie it 3-3 early in the second quarter after an impressive drive.

But Callaway mishandled another punt at his 19-yard line, and LSU linebacker Michael Divinity recovered the wet ball. Williams later scored on a 10-yard run for a 10-3 lead with 11:31 to go in the second quarter before a harder rain fell

LSU made it 17-3 with 2:08 to play in the second quarter on a 13-yard scramble by Etling. But Tennessee struck right back as Callaway redeemed himself with a 46-yard touchdown catch from quarterback Jarrett Guarantano. On the play, Callaway beat LSU cornerback Donte Jackson, who slipped.

Tennessee appeared very fired up, particularly on defense, behind newly named interim head coach Brady Hoke, who was formerly the Vols' defensive line coach. He replaced Butch Jones on Sunday after Tennessee fell, 50-17, at Missouri.

LSU closes the regular season on Saturday at 6:30 p.m. on the SEC Network.

 

 

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