LSU right guard Josh Boutte snapped his fingers to explain how quickly he reacted to Wisconsin defensive back D’Cota Dixon’s game-clinching interception in a 16-14 loss to the Badgers on Sept. 3.
“On T.V., it seems like it happened so slow and you can tell,” Boutte said of his post-play hit on Dixon, costing him a one-game suspension. “In a game experience, I literally looked up, saw the ball in his hands, and I was like, ‘I got to get the ball.’ That was that.”
On first-and-15 from the Badgers 35-yard line, Tigers quarterback Brandon Harris escaped a pass rusher but threw off balance. Dixon was sitting on the errant throw but fell to the ground as he was making the interception.
He was down by contact, but Boutte didn’t know the play was dead.
Les Miles didn't wait for a ruling from the Southeastern Conference office.
The hit appeared flagrant, but that wasn’t his intention, he said. However, he acknowledged it was embarrassing, and he knew only he could remedy the situation.
So he phoned Dixon to apologize and explain his side. From there, a kinship formed between the two.
“We became friends over something that probably shouldn’t have happened,” Boutte said. “In a way, I’m glad that we got to meet. I’m just really glad I got to meet him. He’s a really nice, genuine guy. I just wish him the best.”
“I got bashed a lot, but I know what my purpose was,” he continued. “D’Cota Dixon doesn’t have any hard feelings on me, so I shouldn’t have any myself.”
They also shared something in common that is important to both — a belief in God.
“After I found out that, we kind of just meshed. It’s almost like he’s been in my life (for a long time). He’s a really good guy.”
Still, Boutte paid the price for the hit, missing the home opener against Jacksonville State. He returned for the Southeastern Conference opener against Mississippi State and briefly went down for a knee injury. But he missed only one or two series, he said, and felt comfortable back in the starting lineup.
He's healthy and ready for Saturday's game between No. 17 LSU (2-1, 1-0 SEC) and Auburn (1-2, 0-1) at Jordan-Hare Stadium on Saturday.
“I wanted to be back on the field with my brothers and just compete,” Boutte said.
Ethan Pocic chuckled when the suggestion was presented to him.