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Sometimes it seems like things like this only happen at LSU.
A week ago, there was all of this Daddy Drama with Dallas Cowboys offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier basically telling LSU offensive coordinator Jake Peetz to play his son — true freshman quarterback Garrett Nussmeier — against Arkansas last week.
At least, that’s how LSU coach Ed Orgeron explained it on Nov. 8. Then on Nov. 10, he said, “There’s nobody dictating to me on doing nothing. I run this program.”
And Nussmeier played all but the first two series, showing some flashes of quality throws and mobility, but he was also pretty erratic and started off 2-of-8 passing. He finished 18 of 31 for 179 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions, including one in overtime that set up Arkansas for the game-winning field goal in a 16-13 win.
“Garrett made some good plays, then he didn’t make some good plays,” Orgeron said.
Orgeron had said going into the game that Nussmeier and regular starter Max Johnson would share playing time the rest of the season with Nussmeier burning his red-shirt as he would be playing in game five Saturday against Louisiana-Monroe (8 p.m., ESPN2) and game six against Texas A&M next Saturday and a possible bowl.
The Arkansas game was Nussmeier’s fourth to play in this season, and true freshmen can play in a maximum of four and still carry their freshman season over to the next season.
Now, Nussmeier will be red-shirted. He is done for the season.
“Garrett is not going to play,” Orgeron said Thursday night. “Max is our starter. Garrett’s going to take the red-shirt year.”
Orgeron did not say whether he checked with Nussmeier’s dad or Peetz on this. Either Orgeron is in charge, or the Nussmeiers realized the smarter decision is for Garrett to be red-shirted and save another season for his future with a new LSU coach or for another school.
Even if the Nussmeiers do want Garrett to play, Orgeron could still just not let him go in.
Should Johnson get injured Saturday, LSU’s backup quarterback will be freshman Matt O’Dowd (6-foot-2, 199), a walk-on from Plantation, Florida.
The Tigers (4-6, 2-5) are a 29.5-point favorite by FanDuel over ULM (4-6, 2-5 Sun Belt).
LSU needs to win Saturday and against No. 16 Texas A&M (7-3, 4-3 SEC) on Nov. 27 (6 p.m., ESPN) to be bowl eligible. The Tigers were eligible for a bowl last season at 5-5, but offered up the bowl as a self-imposed penalty toward its NCAA penalties for recruiting violations.
LSU has not failed to become bowl eligible on the field since the 1999 season when it finished 3-8 and coach Gerry DiNardo was fired. The Tigers have not had back-to-back, non-winning seasons since 1998 (4-7) and ’99.
ULM first-year coach Terry Bowden was 2-1 in Tiger Stadium as Auburn’s coach from 1993-98 with a 34-10 win in 1993 and a 31-28 victory in 1997 around a 12-6 loss in 1995.