LSU celebrates 2003 national champions

Advocate staff photo by BILL FEIG -- LSU quarterback Zach Mettenberger looks downfield for a receiver Saturday in Tiger Stadium. Show caption
Advocate staff photo by BILL FEIG -- LSU quarterback Zach Mettenberger looks downfield for a receiver Saturday in Tiger Stadium.

LSU’s 2003 BCS national championship team was recognized at halftime Saturday of the Tigers’ game against Florida, drawing a standing ovation from fans in Tiger Stadium.

About 70 members of the 2003 team were in attendance. That number sort of included Florida coach Will Muschamp — the Tigers defensive coordinator that season was in the locker room with his team at halftime — and didn’t include former LSU and current Alabama coach Nick Saban.

Saban, whose team played at Kentucky on Saturday night, said on the Southeastern Conference teleconference this week he would liked to have been at the game and sent a recorded message for his former players.

With honors

LSU held a pregame moment of silence for former coach and athletic director Paul Dietzel.

This was LSU’s first home game since Dietzel died Sept. 23 at age 89.

Dietzel was LSU’s coach from 1955-61, leading the Tigers to their first national championship in 1958 and a second Southeastern Conference title in 1961. He returned to serve as athletic director from 1978-82.

LSU’s 2013 CWS baseball team, the SEC tournament champions, was recognized on the field between the first and second quarters. Linebacker D.J. Welter went out and gave them all low fives as they stood on the field.

Injury report

LSU quarterback Zach Mettenberger suffered a bruised knee during the fourth quarter but while appearing a bit gimpy was able to finish the game.

Tigers defensive end J ordan Allen was shaken up and helped off the field with 3:51 left to play. LSU coach Les Miles said he had no immediate information on Allen’s injury.

Florida cornerback Vernon Hargreaves was shaken up with 6:52 left in the second quarter but walked off. LSU cornerback Jalen Mills suffered an ankle injury on Florida’s first drive of the third quarter but also returned.

Personnel moves

Danielle Hunter started at defensive end over Allen and responded with one of his best games, recording seven total tackles and two pass breakups.

Kwon Alexander started at strongside linebacker over Tahj Jones and Craig Loston and Corey Thompson started at the safety spots.

Jones and Loston missed last week’s Mississippi State game with hamstring and groin injuries, respectively.

Crunching the numbers

LSU’s 17-6 win marked the fewest points by Florida against the Tigers since a 20-3 LSU win in 1979. That game was also the last time LSU held Florida without a touchdown.

The Tigers have not allowed a touchdown in the past six quarters dating to the second quarter of the Mississippi State game.

Mike VI takes the day off

It was too hot for thousands of Tiger fans — and apparently for LSU’s Bengal tiger mascot, too.

Mike VI didn’t come out for the third time in LSU’s four home games. Mike’s trainers have made a policy of not forcing the tiger into his mobile cage if he doesn’t want to go.

Lagniappe

Former LSU chancellor and current NCAA President Mark Emmert was in attendance Saturday. … Representatives from the Sugar, Capitol One, Gator and Senior bowls were in attendance. … LSU punted at the end of its first drive for just second time this season. … The Gators still lead the LSU series 31-26-3, including a 16-15 edge in Tiger Stadium. Miles is now 5-4 against Florida, incluidng a 4-1 record in home games. ... LSU’s next game at Ole Miss will be at will be at 6 p.m. on ESPN or ESPN2.