In a game that figures to be decided by one possession and perhaps a single kick, the LSU Tigers may find themselves at a disadvantage as a result of the lingering leg injury to redshirt freshman kicker Colby Delahoussaye whose injury forced him to leave the win vs. Furman early.
Related: Death Valley Voice Podcast: Week 10
Now I know what you’re saying, “He’s just a kicker!”
Yes, he is just a kicker, but he was quietly putting together one of the best seasons of any kicker in the SEC as he drilled his first nine field goal attempts right through the uprights, including a career-long 49-yarder at Georgia.
The potential loss of Delahoussaye–he’s listed as questionable–could force Les Miles to forgo longer field goals and elect to punt or go for it on fourth down which could dramatically alter field position and the complexion of the game.
James Hairston will kick if Delahoussaye can’t go and he was successful booting each of his extra point attempts in the second half vs. Furman and has handled kickoffs, but will he have the same trust as Miles?
“Really, we’re pretty fortunate,” Miles said. “I don’t know if there’s many guys that stand in a position ready to man that job as qualified as him. I think we’re good. [NOLA.com]
I wouldn’t expect Miles to say anything to the contrary, but there is also a full week to go before this epic clash of SEC west titans and I’m sure he’s hoping for a full recovery from Delahoussaye.
We saw in 2011 just how much the kicking game can dramatically alter the outcome of a game when Alabama had not one, but two kickers who literally could not make a kick to save Alabama.
Cade Foster and Jeremy Shelley were a combined 2-6 as LSU relied on the trustworthy Drew Alleman nailing each of his three attempts including the game winner from 25 yards out in overtime.
Three of the last four regular season games have been decided by four points or less, so the kicker who is often overlooked could be one of the most important players in the biggest game of LSU’s season.