Celebrity sightings were plentiful at Saturday night’s LSU-Washington game.
Former LSU All-Americans Shaquille O’Neal and Mo Claiborne took the field to standing ovations. Former Tiger cornerback Tyrann Mathieu watched from the stands, his first appearance in Tiger Stadium since his dismissal from the team in August.
NCAA President Mark Emmert was in attendance, not surprising because he was the former chancellor at LSU and ex-president at Washington.
Perhaps more surprising was a visitor from the other Washington: Supreme Court justice Clarence Thomas.
Thomas spoke to the LSU team Friday, according to LSU sports information director Michael Bonnette, then took in the game from one of the Tiger Stadium suites. Bonnette said LSU was not allowed to publicize Thomas’ visit beforehand because of security reasons.
Expect an announcement Monday on television plans for LSU’s Sept. 22 game at Auburn.
With Auburn losing 28-10 Saturday at Mississippi State to fall to 0-2, the game would appear to be destined for ESPN since Missouri plays at South Carolina on that date in what looms as a big Southeastern Conference Eastern Division contest.
Bonnette said officials said ESPN has first pick of SEC games on Sept. 22 over CBS.
If so, ESPN could pick Missouri-South Carolina and CBS could take LSU-Auburn.
Auburn hosts Louisiana-Monroe next Saturday while LSU hosts Idaho.
That game will be shown on TigerVision, LSU’s in-house pay-per-view network.
ESPN TV cameras showed Mathieu in the stands watching Saturday’s game.
It was Mathieu’s first appearance at Tiger Stadium since his dismissal from the team in August and his stint at a drug rehab program in Houston.
Mathieu has since returned to LSU as a regular student amid speculation he may try to return to the team in 2013.
Senior Josh Dworaczyk started at left tackle for LSU in place of Chris Faulk, who likely is out for the season after injuring a knee in practice this week. It was Dworaczyk’s first start since the Cotton Bowl game in January 2011,
Dworaczyk, who missed all of last season because of a knee injury suffered in the preseason, had started 26 consecutive games in which he had played left guard during his sophomore and junior seasons.
University High stars Tim Williams, the senior defensive end, and highly regarded sophomore running back Nic Brossette, were on the sidelines Saturday, according to 24/7 Sports.
Also watching were 2014 New Orleans Karr recruits Speedy Noil (wide receiver) and defensive lineman Gerald Willis, younger brother of former Dutchtown and current Alabama defensive back Landon Collins, and Patterson tight end Deandre Skinner (Arkansas commitment).
A couple of 2013 LSU commitments also took in the game, among them quarterback Anthony Jennings of Marrietta, Ga., and Monroe Neville athlete prospect John Diarse. Diarse is No. 204 on the ESPNU 300, while Jennings is No. 211.
LSU wore white jerseys for Saturday’s game, though it has been the Tigers’ tradition of late to wear purple jerseys for their second nonconference home game. Instead, it was Washington, whose colors are also purple and gold, that wore purple shirts.
Bonnette said the Tigers wore white because the game was on national TV on ESPN. He said the Tigers will wear purple jerseys against Idaho and Sept. 29 against Towson.
LSU’s defense has started out exceptionally stingy in both games so far this season.
The Tigers gave up 22 yards on 15 snaps in the first quarter against North Texas and 18 yards on 17 snaps against Washington. That’s a total of 40 yards on 32 plays.
Former Washington coach Don James watched Saturday’s game from the Washington athletic director’s box, his first trip to Tiger Stadium since his Huskies were beaten here 40-14 by LSU in 1983.
“It’s bigger, isn’t it?” James asked. A then record 82,390 fans jammed into 80,000-seat Tiger Stadium that night.
James, who coached Nick Saban at Kent State, finished as Washington’s winningest coach, going 153-57-2 from 1975-92. He said he believes fourth-year coach Steve Sarkisian has the Huskies on the right track back to Pac-12 respectability.
“Sark’s making progress,” James said. “It’s a shame that his defense played so poorly against Baylor (in the Alamo Bowl) and he let them all go, so he’s started over again.”
James votes in the Legends Poll, comprised of former coaches. He would like to see members of that poll be considered to be part of the selection committee when the four-team BCS playoff begins in 2014.
“We all coached,” James said. “Our guys are good. John Robinson doesn’t vote for USC, and I don’t vote for Washington.”
LSU defensive tackle Josh Downs limped off with what looked like an ankle injury with 9:28 left in the third quarter.
Washington starting right tackle Eric Kohler went down with 10:39 left in the first quarter and was helped off. The Huskies lost another starting tackle, Ben Riva, last week against San Diego State.
Sam Montgomery started at defensive end after not starting last week. … Two military jets did a flyover above Tiger Stadium shortly before kickoff. … LSU’s SEC champion baseball team was recognized on the field during the first half. … Kickoff for next Saturday’s LSU-Idaho game is set for 7 p.m. in Tiger Stadium.
Advocate sportswriters Les East and Sheldon Mickles contributed to this report.
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