Lewis: Time for LSU's SEC runoff; we're not talking elections either _lowres

Advocate staff photo by BILL FEIG -- LSU defensive back Donte Jackson (1) leaps for the open area while running a punt back as Western Kentucky defensive lineman Derik Overstreet (72) gives chase during the first half Saturday, Oct. 24, 2015, in Tiger Stadium.

No. 5 LSU was without two of its defensive starters against Western Kentucky on Saturday night.

Defensive tackle Christian LaCouture and cornerback Tre’Davious White missed the game because of injuries, but LSU had enough success agianst the nation’s sixth-ranked scoring offense during its 48-20 win on a rainy night in Tiger Stadium.

Both players suffered injuries leading up to the contest. LaCouture injured his foot and White hurt his left knee, sources told The Advocate on Friday. LaCouture had surgery on his foot, defensive tackle Davon Godchaux said after the game.

Godchaux and coach Les Miles said LaCouture “could play” against Alabama. Miles said White could have played Saturday, but he was seen visibly limping on the sideline during the game.

Sophomore Greg Gilmore started in place of LaCouture, though sophomore Frank Herron rotated regularly when the Tigers lined up in the nickel package. The Tigers recorded one sack.

“He’s good man. He’s good,” Greg Gilmore said of LaCouture. “I’m texting and calling him, going to check on him right after this. Everything is good.”

LSU (7-0) frequently used its six-defensive back formation against Western Kentucky’s pass-happy offense, leaving LaCouture’s replacements on the sidelines.

Junior Dwayne Thomas, the Tigers’ nickelback for most of the season, filled in for White opposite freshman Kevin Toliver, the regular No. 2 cornerback.

Freshman Donte Jackson returned punts in White’s absence. Ed Paris saw his most snaps of the season after defensive back Jalen Mills suffered a “soft tissue issue” in the first half, Miles said. He did not play in the second half, but Miles said he “should” return against Alabama.

‘It’s tragic’

Four people died and 44 more were injured when a car crashed into a crowd at Oklahoma State’s homecoming parade in Stillwater, Oklahoma, on Saturday.

Miles, who served as the Cowboy’s head coach from 2001-2004, offered his condolences to those affected by the crash.

“We had great experiences in Stillwater, where our young family kinda grew up,” Miles said. “...And for somebody to lose life and injury there, it’s tragic. All my acquaintances and friends in Oklahoma, know we’re praying for you.”

Not so special

The end to LSU’s special teams woes doesn’t appear to be anywhere in sight.

Though the Tigers looked better on kickoff coverage, their punt unit committed several mistakes in the first half alone.

First, Jackson fair-caught a punt inside the 10-yard line that looked like it may have bounced into the end zone for a touchback.

LSU lined up in an exotic punt formation early in the second half but appeared confused, causing a delay of game penalty. Later in the quarter, LSU coach Les Miles had to burn a timeout because the punt return unit had 12 men on the field.

The special teams wrapped up a miserable first half with a big punt return by Jackson well into Hilltopper territory. But an illegal block in the back negated the play, and the Tigers knelt to end the half.

Dirty laundry

LSU had seven penalties for 65 yards in Saturday’s game. Here’s how they happened and who was at fault.

- False starts (2): LT Jerald Hawkins, RT Vadal Alexander

- Unsportsmanlike: C Ethan Pocic head-butting defender)

- Delay of game: LSU punting team

- Block in the back: Kevin Toliver

- Holding: RT Vadal Alexander

- Defensive holding: Ed Paris

Going the distance

Despite its sluggish performance, LSU’s offense ripped off its longest drive of the season against WKU.

Backed up to their own 4-yard line after a precise punt, the Tigers marched 96 yards on six plays to take a 14-7 lead. Junior receiver Travin Dural sparked the drive with a 67-yard catch-and-run on the second play of the series.

Fournette ties record

Charles Alexander’s record is in danger.

Sophomore running back Leonard Fournette tied the former Tiger for a program-record ninth straight 100-yard rushing game.

50 in the books

Saturday’s contest marked the 50th time under Miles that LSU played a game ranked in the Top Five of The Associated Press poll. With the win, the Tigers improved to 41-9 in such games and have won 52 straight non-conference regular season games, which leads the nation.

Lagniappe

Captains for the game were Dural, tight end Colin Jeter, quarterback/holder Brad Kragthorpe and defensive end Lewis Neal. Guest captains were former LSU players Leonard Marshall, Alley Broussard, Jarvis Green, and Marlon Favorite. ... Freshman David Ducre became the 13th true freshman to play this season for LSU. … LSU honored three of its former national championship teams during the game: men’s golf (2015) and the men’s and women’s outdoor track teams (1990). ... Attendance for the game was announced at 101,561.