Starting quarterback Zach Mettenberger’s injury remains unclear, but his backup is feeling the love.
Anthony Jennings was named the Southeastern Conference co-Freshman of the Week, the league announced Monday.
Jennings, a true freshman from Georgia, led the Tigers on a last-minute, 99-yard, game-winning touchdown drive in a 31-27 comeback victory over Arkansas on Friday.
He completed four of six passes on the drive, one from his own end zone and another a 49-yard game-winning touchdown pass to Travin Dural with 1 minute, 15 seconds left.
Jennings entered in place of Mettenberger, who suffered a left knee injury midway through the fourth quarter and did not return. Mettenberger left the field on crutches and did not speak with reporters after the game.
The team is not currently releasing details of Mettenberger’s injury, team spokesman Michael Bonnette said Monday. The quarterback was expected to have an MRI over the weekend.
No. 14 LSU (9-3) will know its bowl destination Sunday. The Tigers are expecting an invitation from the Cotton Bowl, but several other bowls are possibilities.
It’s unclear who would start the bowl game, but Jennings said last week that he’ll “prepare like a starter.”
“Zach is our quarterback. He’s the starter, and I understand that,” Jennings said after the Arkansas game when asked about his limited playing time this season. “Just happened to get hurt in the fourth quarter. I was the backup, and I came in. I prepared like a starter.”
LSU coach Les Miles said after the game that he would expect Mettenberger to return for the bowl, but he did not know the extent of the injury.
Arkansas defensive tackle Byran Jones pushed past backup center Ethan Pocic and hammered the quarterback with about seven minutes left in the game. Mettenberger’s left leg pinned under Jones, and the quarterback lay on the field in pain for several minutes before limping off.
Pocic walked over to a wounded Mettenberger on the sideline and appeared to apologize. Pocic was in for injured starter Elliott Porter.
Mettenberger finished 14-of-22 for 156 yards and was sacked three times against Arkansas.
On an 8-yard completion to tight end Travis Dickson in the third quarter, Mettenberger surpassed the 3,000-yard passing mark. He’s just one of three LSU players to do that in a single season, joining Rohan Davey (3,347 in 2001) and JaMarcus Russell (3,129 in 2006).
Thompson out; others OK
Safety Corey Thompson will miss LSU’s bowl game with a knee injury, but everyone else is expected to be healthy for the postseason, Bonnette said.
Thompson had started five of the past six games before missing the game against Arkansas. He did not dress out. The team is not releasing the full extent of his injury.
Several LSU players were injured in the Arkansas win, but all of them are expected to be healthy by late December, Bonnette said.
Porter went down with an apparent knee injury. Right tackle Jerald Hawkins also left the game late, and receiver Odell Beckham Jr. didn’t play nearly the entire final three quarters with a hip injury.
Running back Terrence Magee also suffered an ankle injury but is OK.
Beckham, LSU’s leading receiver entering Friday’s game, is “fine,” Bonnette said.