Florida Gators finish the regular season bowl-eligible at 6-6, beat FSU Seminoles 24-21.

What LSU cornerback Derek Stingley Jr.'s absence means for the defense

Adam Hunsucker
Lafayette Daily Advertiser
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LSU coach Ed Orgeron planned to rotate several defensive players against Auburn, especially in the secondary with cornerback Derek Stingley Jr. doubtful to play.

That became a necessity not only with Stingley sidelined for the second consecutive week, but over the course of a physical 24-19 loss on Saturday at Tiger Stadium.

“We lost a lot of guys with some minor injuries that had to get our for a couple snaps,” Orgeron said. “Some of them got back in and some of them just had a couple of injuries that they’re probably going to be out today or tomorrow and hopefully they can play this week.”

Orgeron didn’t elaborate on who was injured. LSU (3-2, 1-1 SEC) plays a pivotal road game at No. 14 Kentucky (5-0, 3-0) on Saturday (6:30 p.m. CST, SEC Network).

Stingley saw a doctor last week after aggravating a foot injury from fall camp. LSU already lost one defensive starter for the season, defensive end Andre Anthony, in a 49-21 win over Central Michigan on Sept. 18.

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Dwight McGlothern received his second start in Stingley’s absence and made five tackles against Auburn. Safety Jay Ward, who returned from injury at Mississippi State, had 11 tackles. Nickel back Cordale Flott broke up a pass and was a factor in run support with six tackles.

LSU's starters in the secondary were McGlothern, Ward, Flott, cornerback Eli Ricks and safety Major Burns. 

Quarterback Bo Nix scrambles as The LSU Tigers take on the Auburn Tigers in Tiger Stadium. Saturday, Oct. 2, 2021.

LSU’s loss was Bo Nix’s gain

Orgeron made his reputation as a defensive-line guru prior to becoming a head coach. The list of Orgeron pupils reads like a who’s who at the position — like Cortez Kennedy, Russell Maryland and Warren Sapp at Miami and Mike Patterson and Shaun Cody at USC.

So it gave Orgeron fits watching Auburn quarterback Bo Nix elude LSU’s pass rush at every turn.

“A lot times we didn’t take the proper angles on him, but you’ve got to give him credit,” Orgeron said. “He played lights out and to have a quarterback make us miss that many tackles. I think that’s the first time I’ve seen that as a coach, and I’ve been coaching for a long time.”

Nix was named the SEC Co-Offensive Player of the Week after throwing for 255 yards and a touchdown while rushing for a game-high 74 yards and a crucial score in the fourth quarter.

LSU, who entered the game with an FBS-best 20 total sacks, never sacked Nix and couldn’t contain him in the pocket.

“It was disappointing,” linebacker Damone Clark said. “We have to take the extra step instead of lunging. We just have to do what we’re coached to do.”

An early homecoming

LSU fans will miss out on several homecoming activities next week, barring any changes to the university’s event schedule.

Kickoff against Florida on homecoming is scheduled for 11 a.m. on Oct. 16. The homecoming parade is schedule for 10 a.m. — an hour prior to kickoff — and the student tailgate opens at noon.

LSU vs. Florida will air on either ESPN or part of a CBS doubleheader before Georgia vs. Kentucky at 2:30 p.m. The network will be announced at a later date. 

Adam Hunsucker covers LSU for the USA Today Network. Email him at ahunsucker@gannett.com or follow him on Twitter @adam_hunsucker. Enjoy Adam’s work?  Consider a digital subscription for unlimited access.

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