It was the one moment in LSU’s victory Saturday night over South Carolina where it looked like LSU’s fortunes had turned for the better then were perhaps destined to be dashed again.
Tigers free safety Eric Reid intercepted Gamecocks quarterback Connor Shaw at the LSU 49-yard line in the fourth quarter and returned the ball to the S.C. 29, setting up LSU’s go-ahead field goal in a 23-21 victory.
But Reid spent several anxious moments on the turf after being tackled on the return by Gamecocks receiver Bruce Ellington.
“I bruised my sternum in the third quarter when I fell on someone’s cleat,” Reid explained Monday. “Then I bruised it again (on the return).”
Reid said the injury knocked the breath out of him, but he was determined to return and was on the field at the end.
“As a competitor you don’t want to sit out,” Reid said. “I felt I had to be out there with my teammates. It wasn’t going to hold me out of the game.
“It was uncomfortable, but with the adrenalin flowing it wasn’t as bad as it was (Monday) morning.”
Reid said he would likely be limited in practice this week but said he has “every intention of playing” Saturday when No. 6-ranked LSU travels to face No. 20 Texas A&M (11 a.m., ESPN).
Reid said the bruised sternum would likely require some extra padding, but that this injury was nothing like the pulled quadriceps he suffered in last year’s Ole Miss game.
Reid missed LSU’s subsequent game against Arkansas and was hobbled in the Southeastern Conference Championship Game against Georgia.
“This isn’t even close,” Reid said. “I couldn’t run against Arkansas. I just need time to get better.”
Hurst, Williford still out
LSU coach Les Miles said there was no change in the status of offensive tackle Alex Hurst and right guard Josh Williford, both of whom missed the South Carolina game.
Williford was not cleared to play after suffering a concussion Oct. 6 at Florida. Hurst has apparently left the team for now for what have been described as personal reasons.
LSU offensive lineman Josh Dworaczyk said he has been in contact with Hurst.
“I have communicated with him a few times,” Dworaczyk said, “not to the extent of what’s going on but just basically wishing him the best of luck and him sending it right back at me.”
Asked if he thinks Hurst will return to the team, Dworaczyk said: “I hope so. Any time you have a guy who missed some time and comes back is a huge bonus.”
The absence of Hurst and Williford forced LSU to use its fifth set of offensive line starters in seven games, with Dworaczyk at left tackle, La’el Collins at left guard, P.J. Lonergan at center and freshmen Trai Turner and Vadal Alexander at right guard and right tackle.
Collins is the only LSU offensive lineman to start all seven games in the same position.
Saturday’s game marks the 51st meeting between the Tigers and Aggies and their first since A&M became a member of the SEC.
LSU leads the all-time series 27-20-3.
This will be their first regular-season meeting since 1995, when the Tigers and Aggies wrapped up a 10-year contract with a 33-17 A&M win in College Station.
A&M holds a commanding 7-1-1 lead in games played in College Station.
The Tigers and Aggies have played only once since 1995, with LSU winning 41-24 in the 2011 AT&T Cotton Bowl in Arlington, Texas.
Three Tigers honored
LSU defensive end Sam Montgomery and running back Jeremy Hill earned honors from the SEC Monday, while linebacker Lamin Barrow was recognized by the Louisiana Sports Writers Association.
Montgomery was named SEC Defensive Lineman of the Week for his play against his home state team. The junior from Greenwood, S.C., had three tackles (two for sacks) and forced a fumble.
Hill, the freshman from Redemptorist, led LSU with 17 carries for 124 yards and scored both of the Tigers’ touchdowns, the second on a 50-yard run late in the game to put LSU up 23-14.
Barrow, a junior from Marrero John Ehret, led LSU with a career-high 12 tackles.
LSU-Texas A&M ties
LSU tight ends coach and former quarterback Steve Ensminger was offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Texas A&M from 1994-96.
LSU quarterbacks coach Steve Kragthorpe was at A&M from 1997-2000.
Former LSU coach Curley Hallman (1991-94) played at A&M. Legendary coach Dana X. Bible coached at both schools during World War I, leaving LSU after a brief three-game stint to go to College Station in 1917.