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In the midst of historic SC flooding, LSU Tigers welcome Gamecocks with open arms

Last week, the state of South Carolina was hit with historically massive floods across the state, hitting the city of Columbia the hardest.

South Carolina had enough rain last week for 1.2 million gallons for every person in the state, said Ryan Maue of WeatherBELL. As of Tuesday, more than 300 roads and bridges in the state are still closed. The death toll is currently at 19.

As someone who grew up in the Palmetto State, it was hard to see the devastating effects on a state where I still have family and friends living. I saw photos of my old high school’s rival football stadium submerged in several feet of water and almost unrecognizable. The beach where I used to surf moved a few hundred yards inland to where Main Street was supposed to be.

The state was in a state of emergency, with residents devastated by the floods.

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The University of South Carolina was supposed to host fellow SEC football team Louisiana State University in Columbia on Saturday. Instead, the game was moved to Baton Rouge, Louisiana — a state more than familiar with devastating hurricane floods.

Following Hurricane Katrina 10 years ago, LSU was forced to travel to Tempe, Arizona, to face Arizona State.

With the change in venue decided with just a few days notice — which is more than an impressing act — LSU brought in more than 42,000 fans for technically a home game for the Gamecocks.

A South Carolina man paddles down his street in Columbia, South Carolina, following the historical flooding last week.

The university didn’t stop there.

When it was announced that the USC band would be unable to attend, LSU’s band immediately learned the school’s alma mater to pay tribute to flood victims.

The LSU Student Government hosted a ceremonial transferring of the keys to Tiger Stadium to USC’s Student Government. The Tigers also hosted a tailgate for all South Carolina and LSU fans where they served free food and beverages. Signs plastered all around Baton Rouge welcomed the team and fans in an effort to make them feel at home.

The video boards and PA system played a Gamecocks’ hype video and the traditional pre-kickoff song in LSU’s stadium.

Proceeds from the game as well as fundraising throughout the stadium were to be donated to the Red Cross’ South Carolina flood relief operations.

Tigers fans, who normally boo visiting teams as they enter the stadium, applauded the Gamecocks as they took the field.

The NCAA tweeted Saturday afternoon that it would allow LSU running back Leonard Fournette to auction his jersey to raise funds for the flood victims.

Despite their hospitality, the No. 7-ranked Tigers defeated the “home” team on the Tigers’ own logo Saturday afternoon, 45-27.

As a Gamecock fan, the LSU’s actions made me proud of the SEC. As someone who holds the state of South Carolina near and dear to me, LSU’s actions touched my heart.

In the face of disaster, LSU stepped up to make a difference and show some true Southern hospitality. LSU is a class act, and when they’re not playing the Gamecocks, it just gained one more fan.

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