In a sign of what was to come, two streaks ended for LSU’s offense and defense in the first quarter of the Tigers' matchup with Kentucky on Saturday night.
LSU’s first possession ended when Max Johnson lost a fumble while being sacked by Kentucky’s DeAndre Square and Josaih Hayes recovered at the Tigers’ 44 to set up the offense with a short field.
Kentucky capitalized nine plays later when quarterback Will Levis connected with a wide-open Chris Rodriguez Jr. for a 3-yard scoring pass to get the Wildcats’ 42-21 victory started.
It was the first time in the past five games that LSU failed to score a touchdown on its first possession.
On the flip side, the Tigers’ defense gave up a first-possession touchdown for the first time in six games this season.
Boutte’s tough night
Like the rest of his team, LSU star wide receiver Kayshon Boutte had a rough evening in the Bluegrass.
Boutte, who went into the game with 30 receptions for 436 yards and an FBS-leading nine touchdowns, had three catches for 3 yards when he was injured with 4:05 left in the first quarter and missed time in the first half.
Boutte returned in the second half, but injured his lower right leg midway through the fourth quarter while making an acrobatic 37-yard catch.
He was taken to the locker room on a cart, but coach Ed Orgeron said after the game the severity of the injury wasn’t known.
Defensive end Ali Gaye also left in the fourth quarter with an apparent arm injury.
“We got to see the diagnosis and obviously let the doctors look at them,” Orgeron said. “Tomorrow, after the swelling goes down those guys let me know what it it. But it’s way too premature to say what’s going on right now.”
Boutte caught eight passes for 73 yards, but his school-record seven-game streak with a touchdown reception ended. He tied the school mark held by Dwayne Bowe (2005) and Jarvis Landry (2012-13) last Saturday against Auburn.
No Ensminger in box
LSU offensive analyst and former offensive coordinator Steve Ensminger was not in the Kroger Field press box with current offensive coordinator Jake Peetz and the other coaches.
Orgeron said Monday he had considered asking Ensminger to join Peetz in the coaches’ booth in a consulting role. Ensminger was Orgeron’s offensive coordinator when Orgeron became interim coach in 2016 and again from 2018-20.
“That has been considered,” Orgeron said then. “I think Steve is enjoying his retirement. He does come (to games) as a consultant. Maybe he will come in the box. Might be something I'll talk to him about.”
Ensminger was seen watching the game from the end of the LSU bench, not far from Athletic Director Scott Woodward.
Logan back in uniform
LSU had to bring a smaller roster to the contest because SEC rules limit visiting teams to just 70 players for league games.
The Tigers were already without multiple starters because of injuries: Cornerback Derek Stingley Jr., safety Major Burns, defensive tackle Joseph Evans and defensive end Andre Anthony.
Most of the players who didn't travel were walk-ons or freshmen.
Senior defensive tackle Glen Logan dressed out for the first time this season. He broke his right foot during preseason practice and Orgeron has said that they hoped to have him back for next Saturday’s game against Florida.
Two-time Olympic gold medalist and former Kentucky hurdler/sprinter Sydney McLaughlin was introduced to a standing ovation in the second quarter.
McLaughlin, who competed at Kentucky in 2018 before turning pro, won the 400-meter hurdles with a world-record time of 51.46 seconds at the Tokyo Olympics in August.
She also ran a leg for the U.S. 4x400 relay team that claimed the gold medal.
Former LSU tackle Dare Rosenthal, who transferred to Kentucky this summer, was shaken up late in the third quarter. He returned after missing one snap. … This was LSU’s first trip to Lexington since a 43-37 triple-overtime loss back in 2007. The Tigers recovered to win their second national title in five seasons. … The fumble by Johnson on LSU’s first possession was the first lost this season. … Going into the game, LSU was 46-16 against SEC East teams since 2000. ... SEC commissioner Greg Sankey was in attendance and was on the field before the game.
Staff writers Wilson Alexander and Scott Rabalais contributed to this report.