Mike VI must have been craving cowboy.
LSU’s live mascot attended the season opener, his first home football game since 2013. Mike declined to show at any of last year’s home games, refusing to enter his mobile trailer.
In a news release Monday, the school announced it would attempt to load Mike into its trailer for the first three home games of 2015.
The Bengal tiger assented and was greeted with cheers when he made his pregame tour around the field at Tiger Stadium about 30 minutes before kickoff. LSU’s next two home games are against No. 6 Auburn on Sept. 19 and Eastern Michigan on Oct. 3.
Mike’s attendance at the remaining four home games will depend on how he fares at the first three, according to the news release. He has made it to 32 of the 57 home games since his first year as mascot in 2007.
Freshmen involved early
Coach Les Miles said early in preseason camp that he would play several freshmen early in the season. He just didn’t say they’d be on the field so soon.
Six freshmen saw the field on LSU’s first offensive and defensive series: running backs Derrius Guice and Nick Brossette; receivers Tyron Johnson, Donte Jackson and Jazz Ferguson; and cornerback Kevin Toliver.
Jackson took an end-around for 4 yards on the Tigers’ third play. On the next play, Guice and Brossette flanked quarterback Brandon Harris in the shotgun, but the swing pass to Guice went for a 4-yard loss.
Toliver started at cornerback in LSU’s nickel package with five defensive backs. Dwayne Thomas started at the nickel position.
Former All-America cornerback Patrick Peterson spent most of his LSU career stopping opposing offenses and giving the ball back to his own. But five seasons after he departed for the NFL, he’s giving back in an even bigger way.
Peterson, who plays for the Arizona Cardinals, has made a $1 million commitment to LSU, which is split into $500,000 in cash and another $500,000 in future payments, according to an LSU news release.
“I want to set an example and challenge other former players to give back to our great University,” Peterson said in a statement issued by the school. “LSU is a wonderful place that helped me develop into the person that I am today. I hope that my donation will encourage and inspire other former student-athletes to give back.”
The money will go toward upgrades on the LSU football operations building. The school intends to name the new weight room “The Peterson-Roberts Weight Room” after the cornerback and local businessman Dave Roberts, who made a $1 million contribution.
Peterson was honored on the field in the first quarter of the Tigers’ season opener. He was accompanied by a current and former teammate: safety Tyrann Mathieu.
In his junior year of 2010, he won the Bednarik Award as the nation’s top defender and the Thorpe Award as the best defensive back in the country.
Three defensive linemen and an offensive lineman did not dress out for LSU’s season opener. Freshman offensive lineman Chidi Valentine-Okeke and defensive linemen Sione Teuhema, Mickey Johnson and Deondre Clark did not participate in the game.
The four were not spotted during pregame warmups with other LSU players.
Valentine-Okeke, a native of Nigeria, is a freshman who’s on the third or fourth string. He’s expected to redshirt, he said a few weeks ago.
Teuhema and Clark are sophomore backups on a D-line already experiencing depth issues. Johnson is a senior third-stringer who planned to transfer in the spring and then returned to the team over the summer.
Saints cornerback Delvin Breaux tweeted he was at Saturday night’s game. He signed with LSU despite fracturing several vertebrae during a high school game but he was never cleared to play. ... McNeese State Athletic Director Bruce Hemphill played at LSU from 1974-76 and caught passes from LSU tight ends coach Steve Ensminger during his senior season.