STARKVILLE, Miss. — LSU started its fourth different player in as many weeks at left tackle Saturday in its Southeastern Conference opener with Mississippi State.
True freshman Garrett Dellinger drew his first career start Saturday, following Cameron Wire (UCLA), Marlon Martinez (McNeese State) and Xavier Hill (Central Michigan).
Dellinger, a four-star recruit, had competed with redshirt sophomore Anthony Bradford for the spot in practice this week as Ed Orgeron looked for a solution at a struggling position.
Bradford took snaps with the second-team offensive line in pregame warmups and replaced Dellinger late in the second quarter. Bradford also played in that spot in the second half.
Dellinger, rated the No. 91 player in the country by 247Sports during the last recruiting cycle, had played in three games with no starts.
LSU has searched for a reliable left tackle since Wire went down in the first half of LSU's season opener.
Wire, who missed the last two games, dressed out against State. But the junior had returned to practice late last week, making him unlikely to play. He wore a brace on his right knee.
Hill, who started last week in Wire's place, wasn't present. Redshirt sophomore Charles Turner, one of LSU's primary backups, also wasn't seen during warmups.
Turner didn't dress out last weekend against Central Michigan and wasn't seen at the viewing windows for media during practice Tuesday and Wednesday.
Right tackle Austin Deculus, who missed the McNeese game with an undisclosed injury, briefly left Saturday’s game early in the fourth quarter of LSU’s 28-25 win.
Deculus appeared to hurt his lower right leg while blocking on a running play with 13:23 left, and he remained on the ground for a few minutes while trainers checked him out. He was able to return on the next drive after missing just a couple of plays.
STARKVILLE, Miss. — It was this kind of Saturday for LSU:
With Deculus down, Bradford moved over to the right side to replace Deculus. Dellinger re-entered the game at left tackle until Deculus returned.
LSU could bring only 70 players to the game, according to SEC rules, reducing the number of unavailable players at the game.
Three players still traveled but weren't dressed out: junior cornerback Derek Stingley Jr., junior running back John Emery Jr. and senior defensive tackle Glen Logan.
Stingley, who was injured in practice Wednesday, had a walking boot on his left foot.
Junior wide receiver Trey Palmer returned after a one-game absence. He practiced in a gold, no-contact jersey last week. Starting defensive end Ali Gaye also returned after missing the past two games.
Palmer caught a 58-yard touchdown from Johnson late in the third quarter and returned two punts for 26 yards with a long of 24.
Sophomore Dwight McGlothern made his first start of the season in Stingley's place. McGlothern returned from an injury that kept him out of the first two games last weekend against Central Michigan.
LSU wide receiver Kayshon Boutte has made himself at home in the end zone.
The sophomore from New Iberia caught a pass over the middle from Max Johnson on the Tigers’ second play from scrimmage in the second half and outran several State defensive backs to complete a 64-yard touchdown play.
It was the eighth touchdown this season for Boutte and 12th in the past six games dating to last season. Boutte also had an 11-yard scoring catch from Johnson on the Tigers’ first possession Saturday.
The 64-yard touchdown catch put Boutte over the 1,000-yard mark in career receiving in just his 14th collegiate game. He finished with four receptions for 85 yards, pushing his career total to 1,043 yards.
To the Max
It makes sense that as Boutte’s touchdown catches mount, so do Johnson’s scoring passes.
Johnson had four in the win over State, giving him 15 for the season and 21 in six collegiate starts. He has at least three touchdown throws in each of those six games.
Johnson completed 17 of 27 passes for 280 yards with four TDs and one interception. He has 1,160 yards so far this season and 1,834 passing yards in his last six games — all starts.
On Saturday, Johnson surpassed the 2,000-yard mark in career passing. He now sits at 2,229 yards.
LSU vs. State
Which school has LSU played more than any other opponent in football?
Ole Miss? Tulane? Alabama?
Actually, it’s Mississippi State.
Saturday’s game was the 115th meeting between the Tigers and Bulldogs in a series that began in 1896, with the two schools playing every season since 1944. LSU has played Ole Miss 109 times, followed by Tulane (98), Alabama (85) and Florida (67).
The Tigers now hold a 76-36-3 edge in the series, though it has been much more competitive of late. Since a 14-game LSU winning streak in the series ended in 2014 with a 34-29 loss, the Tigers are only 5-3 against the Bulldogs.
LSU has won 10 of the past 11 games in Starkville and is 17-7-1 all-time here.
Kole Taylor’s 41-yard catch from Johnson in the fourth quarter was the first touchdown of his career. Taylor is a true sophomore from Grand Junction, Colorado. … LSU came up with two takeaways Saturday on a fumble recovery and an interception. They gave the Tigers a total of six for the season. … For the third time in four games, the Tigers’ defense pitched a shutout in the first quarter. LSU has allowed just seven points in the first quarter on a touchdown and extra point by Central Michigan on Sept. 18. That came with 25 seconds to play in the opening quarter.
Staff writers Wilson Alexander and Scott Rabalais contributed to this report.