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LSU (-2.5 on FanDuel) may be losing its second starter since Monday for its Southeastern Conference opener at Mississippi State on Saturday (11 a.m., ESPN).
Junior All-American cornerback Derek Stingley Jr. may miss the game after aggravating the same foot injury that kept him out of practice through most of August.
“He’s questionable,” LSU coach Ed Orgeron said Thursday night. “He reinjured the same injury that he had in camp. So we had our doctors look at it. Very questionable for the game.”
Stingley, who has eight tackles on the season with 2.5 for losses and a forced fumble, was injured at practice Wednesday.
On Monday, Orgeron said senior defensive end Andre Anthony would be lost for the season with a knee injury. He had 3.5 sacks on the season.
Stingley missed the season opener against Mississippi State last year after being rushed to the hospital the night before the game with an illness. Without him, LSU’s secondary helped State quarterback K.J. Costello set the SEC record for passing yards in a game with 623 on 36 completions in 60 attempts with five touchdowns in a 44-34 LSU loss in Tiger Stadium.
Stingley returned to play in LSU’s second game of last season and started seven in all before opting out of the final two games with a minor injury. He started LSU’s opener at UCLA this season, despite missing most of preseason camp with the foot injury. But he made mistakes in coverage and did not tackle well in the 38-27 loss. His play improved in the last two games for the Tigers (2-1).
Stingley, a junior from Baton Rouge, is considered a top five or 10 pick in the 2022 NFL Draft. He made 27 tackles last season with 2.5 for losses and five passes defensed with a forced fumble and one fumble recovery last season. Stingley played all 15 games in the Tigers’ national championship season of 2019 and led the SEC with six interceptions. He made 38 tackles with 21 passes defensed and a fumble recovery.
Mississippi State’s quarterback this season, sophomore Will Rogers, is No. 5 in the nation in passing yards with 361 a game. He has completed 122-of-163 passes for 1,083 yards and eight touchdowns with one interception. He completed 50 of 67 for 419 yards and three touchdowns for the Bulldogs (2-1) in a 31-29 loss to Memphis last week.
“Thank God we’ve got Dwight back,” Orgeron said of sophomore cornerback Dwight McGlothern, who just returned from an injury to play for the first time this season in the Tigers’ 49-21 win over Central Michigan on Saturday.
McGlothern has two tackles on the season. He had nine tackles and two pass deflections in seven games as a backup last season.
“Dwight is a good corner,” Orgeron said. “Dwight is going to be our corner. Everybody has to step up.”
LSU also has junior safety Jay Ward, who played cornerback in 2019 and ’20. But he is also just returning from an injury and has played in only one game this season.
“We can always use Jay Ward at corner, if we have to,” Orgeron said. “Obviously, we have to play very well on defense. We have to eliminate the explosive plays. They’re going to make some plays.”
With Stingley in the lineup, UCLA quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson frequently shredded LSU’s secondary with crossing routes as he averaged 28.8 yards a completion in hitting 9-of-16 passes for 260 yards and three touchdowns. Mississippi State coach Mike Leach often used crossing routes in his win over LSU last year.
“We may have to match scores,” Orgeron said. “Hopefully, we won’t get into that type of game, but it could be that type of game.”
LSU does bring in the nation’s No. 1 team in sacks with 19 for 118 yards in losses.
“But they get rid of the ball in 2.5 seconds,” Orgeron said. “If it’s 3.0 seconds or higher, we have an excellent chance to get the quarterback.”