OXFORD, Miss. — All Jerald Hawkins could do was watch.
The junior left tackle didn’t play in No. 17 LSU’s’ 38-17 loss at No. 25 Ole Miss on Saturday, missing the first start of his career because of an ankle injury. Coaches shifted senior right tackle Vadal Alexander to the left side and inserted true freshman Toby Weathersby in his place, a shuffle coach Les Miles hinted at earlier this week.
Weathersby, who had played in a handful of meaningful series earlier this season, made his first career start, adding more youth to LSU’s struggling offensive line.
He joined redshirt freshman right guard Will Clapp and true freshman left guard Maea Teuhema as first-year players on the line. Weathersby isn’t the first true freshman pressed into service for the Tigers. Bry’Kiethon Mouton has filled in at fullback after sophomore JD Moore’s season-ending knee injury.
LSU was already without Moore and starting tight end Dillon Gordon, who is also out for the season. Hawkins’ absence was another blow to an offensive front that generated little push or protection in back-to-back losses against Alabama and Arkansas.
The Tigers experienced more of the same against the Rebels.
Sophomore running back Leonard Fournette got LSU off to a promising start with a 59-yard scamper on its first play from scrimmage, but a holding penalty shortened the gain to only 13 yards. Ole Miss contained him from there, holding Fournette to just 4.3 yards per carry.
LSU’s offensive lineman committed five penalties, two of which were false starts by Weathersby.
Dural, Brossette exit game
The list of LSU’s injured offensive players just keeps growing.
Junior receiver Travin Dural left late in the fourth quarter with a right hamstring injury, CBS’ Allie LaForce reported. On third-and-5 from the 10-yard line, Dural jumped for an errant pass and landed squarely on his back after an Ole Miss defender shrugged him off his shoulder.
True freshman running back Nick Brossette suffered an ACL injury on a third-quarter kickoff. Neither player returned to the game.
All white everything
The purple and gold team went all white Saturday.
The Tigers wore white pants and helmets with their usual white jerseys, marking just the second time in the modern era the team has worn all-white uniforms. LSU donned white Nike Pro Combat uniforms in a 45-10 win against Auburn in 2011.
This isn’t the first time the Tigers have changed up their gear this season.
LSU wore purple jerseys with white pants and helmets against South Carolina on Oct. 10. The Tigers claimed a 45-24 victory in a game that was relocated to Baton Rouge because of flooding in South Carolina.
Tight end shortage
With junior tight end DeSean Smith out, redshirt freshman Jacory Washington traveled to his first road game this season.
Gordon and Smith’s injuries left the Tigers with only two tight ends: junior Colin Jeter and true freshman Foster Moreau. Moreau briefly exited the game in the first quarter with an apparent ear injury, but he returned one series later.
Captains for the game were Alexander, Fournette, junior linebacker Kendell Beckwith, sophomore safety Jamal Adams and senior punter Jamie Keehn. ... LSU won the coin toss and deferred, marking the eighth straight game it won the toss. The Tigers lost the coin toss only once this season: against Auburn in their second game of the year. ... Representatives from four bowl games were in attendance: Orange (College Football Playoff semifinal), Citrus, Outback and TaxSlayer. ... NFL scouts from Philadelphia, Oakland, San Diego, Seattle and the New York Jets were present. ... Vaught-Hemingway Stadium held a sellout crowd Saturday with 60,705 fans in attendance.