Another LSU starter is out for the year.
Sophomore fullback JD Moore will miss the rest of the season after aggravating a knee injury during Saturday’s 30-16 loss at Alabama, coach Les Miles said Monday.
“One of our best fullbacks is no longer with us,” Miles said during his weekly press luncheon.
He said LSU (7-1, 4-1 Southeastern) will still have “a well-manned” position with true freshmen Bry’Kiethon Mouton and David Ducre stepping into Moore’s role. Mouton has played most of the snaps at fullback in Moore’s absence.
After rushing for only 54 yards against Alabama, the Tigers will host Arkansas and its 28th-ranked run defense at 6:15 p.m. Saturday without a key run-blocker.
Moore originally strained a ligament in his left knee while catching a pass against South Carolina on Oct. 10. He missed the two games before the open date, then returned against the Tide.
The former walk-on, who received a scholarship in August, did not start the Alabama game. He played only two series and appeared to reinjure his knee while planting on his left leg.
Sophomore running back Leonard Fournette has praised Moore throughout the season, frequently calling him his “flashlight.” When the team recognized Fournette as MVP of its win against Auburn following his 228-yard, three-touchdown performance, he gave the award to Moore instead.
“I’m just praying for him each and every day to have a speedy recovery,” Fournette said. “It’s a tough one, but we have other fullbacks. David Ducre, Bry’Kiethon, they just have to step up.”
Moore is the second offensive starter LSU has lost this season. Senior tight end Dillon Gordon, a 310-pound run blocker, had season-ending surgery a few weeks ago.
The players’ situations are eerily similar. Gordon suffered an Achilles injury against Auburn and missed the three subsequent games before aggravating the injury against Florida on Oct. 17.
Miles did not say whether Moore will need surgery as well, but his loss means the Tigers will face their final three SEC opponents and whatever lies beyond without two important contributors in the running game.
LSU’s special teams woes are still unsolved.
Miscues on both kickoffs and kickoff returns plagued the Tigers against Alabama. True freshman kick returner Derrius Guice took two hard hits from untouched defenders, and Miles was irked by a slew of missed blocks.
“Guys ran free and whacked our returner. That is a source of concern for me,” he said. “This kickoff return team has got to come of age. We have guys back there that are very capable that can return it; we’ve just got to give them some seams.”
When it was LSU’s turn to kick, things didn’t go so well, either.
Sophomore Cameron Gamble averaged only 45.8 net yards per kickoff, booted one out of bounds and nearly sent another over the boundary, a recurring problem. The Tigers have had a kickoff roll out of bounds in four of the past five games, the past two coming from Gamble.
Miles said he asks Gamble to direct his kicks toward the sideline to help the coverage team, which has improved after early-season struggles. Execution is the problem, the coach said, and junior Trent Domingue is in the mix at kickoff specialist after ceding the role earlier this year.
Ole Miss game time set
CBS didn’t select LSU and Arkansas for its 2:30 p.m. slot Saturday, but the Tigers won’t have to wait long to be featured in the network’s “Game of the Week.”
LSU’s trip to play Ole Miss on Nov. 21 in Oxford will be aired in the 2:30 p.m. window, CBS announced Monday. Alabama will travel to No. 20 Mississippi State for this weekend’s afternoon slot; CBS waited to make that decision until the Tigers and Tide played Saturday.
The Rebels (7-3, 4-2), the only squad to defeat Alabama this season, dropped out of The Associated Press Top 25 for the first time all year after Saturday’s 53-52 overtime loss to visiting Arkansas.