Notebook: LSU safety Jalen Mills gets start, despite off-field issue

HOUSTON — Jalen Mills didn’t get the Jeremy Hill treatment.

Mills, arrested in May for allegedly punching a woman and suspended over the summer, started the game at safety Saturday. He made a tackle for loss early in the game, pumping his fist after the play and revving up the partisan LSU crowd.

Mills didn’t suffer an unannounced suspension as Hill did last season. The two players had similar situations. Hill, arrested for punching a man in the spring before the 2013 season, sat out the first five quarters of the season.

Mills’ case, unlike Hill, is still open. He plans to plead not guilty. Hill pleaded guilty to a charge.

Mills allegedly punched a woman in a May incident at his apartment. He was reinstated to the team on the first day of fall camp. That same day East Baton Rouge Parish District Attorney Hillar Moore charged Mills with simple battery, a misdemeanor. He was originally booked on second-degree battery, a felony.

Mills started alongside Ronald Martin. Dwayne Thomas served as the nickelback, and Rickey Jefferson entered the game in the dime package. Freshman Jamal Adams played some at safety, too.

Absentees

Four LSU players were suspended from Saturday’s game for disciplinary reasons, and one was left behind with an injury, LSU confirmed Saturday.

The Advocate reported much of the news Friday night.

Cornerback Rashard Robinson, defensive tackle Maquedius Bain, center Elliott Porter and linebacker Ronnie Feist did not make the trip for “disciplinary reasons,” a school spokesman said.

Freshman receiver Malachi Dupre was left behind after suffering an injury during Wednesday’s practice.

Feist, a third-string linebacker, was the new absentee not reported Friday.

Alexander’s alma mater

LSU President F. King Alexander, now starting his second football season in Baton Rouge, received his Ph.D. from Wisconsin in higher education administration. He earned his undergraduate degree from St. Lawrence and a master’s degree from Oxford. Alexander arrived in Houston shortly after helping his daughter move into school at Wisconsin.

Long time coming back

Saturday’s game marked LSU’s first in Houston since a 24-10 victory at Rice in 1983. Houston is generally regarded as the home of LSU’s largest alumni base outside Louisiana and a huge recruiting hotbed for the Tigers.

LSU and Wisconsin will complete their two-game series with a game Sept. 3, 2016, at iconic Lambeau Field, home of the Green Bay Packers.

Oh, brother

LSU and Wisconsin both have players whose brothers are NFL stars. Tigers wide receiver Avery Peterson is the brother of former LSU and Arizona Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson. Badgers tight end T.J. Watt is the brother of Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt.

It’s a fake

LSU fans clamor for middle linebacker Kendell Beckwith to see more time on defense.

They never thought about offense.

Beckwith took a direct snap on a punt and converted a fourth-and-3 near midfield, giving LSU somewhat of a spark in the third quarter. Beckwith picked up five yards on the fake. He took the snap, fake a pitch to Jaime Keehn and kept it, running to the left side. The play kept a drive alive that led to a field goal as LSU pulled within 24-10.

Lagniappe

Tre’Davious White returned punts for LSU. ... At defensive tackle, Quentin Thomas started along with Christian LaCouture. ... LSU captains were running back Terrence Magee, punter Jamie Keehn, defensive end Jermauria Rasco, snapper Reid Ferguson, left tackle La’el Collins and linebacker D.J. Welter. ... Keehn was inconsistent, but he booted a career-long 64-yard punt in the second quarter. ... Wisconsin lost starting defensive end Konrad Zagzebski to an injury in the first quarter. He had to be transported to the hospital as a precaution.