Former LSU All-America defensive back and current Arizona Cardinals safety Tyrann Mathieu has donated $1 million to the LSU football program, it was announced in a first-quarter presentation during the LSU-Alabama game Saturday night.
Mathieu’s donation will go toward upgrades to the football operations center. Nicknamed the “Honey Badger,” the New Orleans native joins his Tigers and Cardinals teammate, Patrick Peterson, in making a $1 million donation to the football program.
LSU’s weight room is named after Peterson and local businessman Dave Roberts, who contributed $1 million to Peterson’s family fund. Peterson and Mathieu were among the four guest captains for Saturday's game; the Cardinals are idle this weekend.
Mathieu, a 2011 Bednarik Award winner and Heisman Trophy finalist, was a dynamic player for the Tigers in the two years he was in Baton Rouge. He was named to the All-Southeastern Conference freshman team in 2010 and was the Cotton Bowl Most Outstanding Player that same season.
Mathieu, the 2011 SEC Defensive Player of the Year, was a key contributor on defense and special teams in his sophomore year — a year the Tigers won the SEC title and reached the national championship game. He led the Tigers in tackles, while ranking first in the nation in fumble recoveries. He averaged 15.6 yards per punt return with two touchdowns.
Mathieu was dismissed from the team for a violation of team rules before his junior year began. Mathieu’s attempt to rejoin the program was dashed when he was arrested for marijuana possession in October 2012.
In August, former LSU coach Les Miles called the dismissal of Mathieu "one of the worst things I've ever done."
"I’m so for him, I can’t tell you," Miles said then.
Mathieu was drafted by Arizona in the third round of the 2013 draft and has seemingly rebounded as a professional. Despite an injury-plagued career thus far, including a shoulder injury this year, he’s recorded 206 tackles and nine interceptions in 48 total games.
Before the 2016 season began, Mathieu received a five-year contract extension worth $62.5 million.
Malone misses second half
LSU left tackle K.J. Malone did not return for the second half Saturday night after suffering a stinger on his left bicep in the first half, the LSU Sports Radio Network reported during the third quarter.
Malone was replaced by Maea Teuhema, who started the game at right tackle. Toby Weathersby, who had missed more than a month of the season with an ankle injury, manned the right tackle in second half.
LSU interim coach Ed Oregon did not have an update on Malone after the game.
"I'll find out a little bit later," Orgeron said.
In his first year as a starter, Malone has played in all eight games. Serving as former LSU left tackle Jerald Hawkins’ backup, the Ruston native played in all 12 games last season, totaling 62 snaps and seven knockdowns.
Bama scoreless in first half
No. 1 Alabama was held scoreless in the first half for the first time since 2007, which was Nick Saban’s first season in Tuscaloosa. It ended a streak of 126 games.
Alabama has been held without points the first half 12 times in Saban’s 10 seasons as coach. Four of those scoreless halves have comes against the Tigers.
"That's pretty good," Tigers outside linebacker Arden Key said when asked about ending Alabama's first-half scoring streak. "Us as defense, we executed real well. We did what we were doing in practice. We brought it to the game, and, obviously, we didn't get the win."
Alabama had been held scoreless in the first quarter in only one game this season: the 52-6 season-opening win against Southern California.
LSU came into the game ranked fifth in the nation in scoring defense, allowing 15 points per game. The Tigers led the nation in least amount of touchdowns (eight) allowed through its first seven games.
Fullback J.D. Moore recorded the first two carries of his career in the first half, gains of 1 and 4 yards. … CBS play-by-play man Verne Lundquist, who is in his last year calling the “SEC on CBS,” was honored during the first quarter.