Ok­la­homa, LSU miss­ing key play­ers

Antelope Valley Press - - Sports - By CHARLES ODUM

Top-ranked LSU’s lead­ing rusher Clyde Ed­wards-He­laire is off crutches but still may miss Satur­day’s Peach Bowl play­off semi­fi­nal against No. 4 Ok­la­homa. The Soon­ers, mean­while, will be miss­ing start­ing de­fen­sive end Ron­nie Perkins and two back­ups due to sus­pen­sions. Ed­wards-He­laire suf­fered a ham­string in­jury in prac­tice last week.

AT­LANTA — Top-ranked LSU’s lead­ing rusher Clyde Ed­wards-He­laire is off crutches but still may miss Satur­day’s Peach Bowl play­off semi­fi­nal against No. 4 Ok­la­homa.

The Soon­ers, mean­while, will be miss­ing start­ing de­fen­sive end Ron­nie Perkins and two back­ups due to sus­pen­sions.

Ed­wards-He­laire suf­fered a ham­string in­jury in prac­tice last week. He was only an ob­server for LSU’s first prac­tice in At­lanta on Mon­day. He leads the un­de­feated Tigers (13-0) with 1,290 yards rush­ing and 16 touch­downs.

LSU coach Ed Org­eron says Ed­wards-He­laire is “a lit­tle bit bet­ter” and he de­scribed the run­ning back’s sta­tus as day to day.

“We’re go­ing to see if he can do some­thing to­mor­row,” Org­eron said.

Based on Org­eron’s com­ments, it would be a sur­prise if Ed­wards-He­laire plays. The coach spoke of the ju­nior first­team All-SEC player in the past tense when com­par­ing his run­ning backs, in­clud­ing fresh­man back­ups Tyrion Davis-Price and John Emery.

“I think all three of those guys do dif­fer­ent things,” Org­eron said. “With Clyde, he did ev­ery­thing well. He blocked well. He ran in­side, he ran out­side and caught the football. We’ll have to ad­just if Clyde doesn’t play to ro­tate those guys and do what they do best.”

Quar­ter­back Joe Bur­row was se­cond on the team with 289 yards rush­ing. Davis-Price

ran for 270 yards with six touch­downs and could be the leader of a run­ning back com­mit­tee if Ed­wards-He­laire can’t play.

Cen­ter Lloyd Cushen­berry III said he’s con­fi­dent LSU’s coaches will “get those guys right. I know Clyde is go­ing to be in their ear, try­ing to get them pre­pared, and who­ever gets car­ries, it’s on us up front to do our job so they can make plays . ... We’ve got to take care of those guys and get the job done.”

The Soon­ers (12-1) also will be lim­ited. Coach Lin­coln Ri­ley con­firmed three Ok­la­homa play­ers, in­clud­ing Perkins, will be sus­pended for the game. Perkins leads the team with six sacks.

“We’re not a one-man show up front,” Ri­ley said. “I’m con­fi­dent in the guys that we have and the pres­sure we’ve been able to force this year, and hope­fully we can do it again.”

Run­ning back Rha­mon­dre Steven­son and wide re­ceiver Tre­jan Bridges, who are back­ups, also will miss the game.

Steven­son had a touch­down run in Ok­la­homa’s 3023 over­time win over Bay­lor in the Big 12 cham­pi­onship game.

Ri­ley said he wouldn’t de­tail “dirty laun­dry” about the cause of the sus­pen­sions. He said the three play­ers trav­eled with the team and will join prac­tices in At­lanta.

“I wanted those guys here,” Ri­ley said. “They’re able to prac­tice and able to help this team win in a dif­fer­ent way right now . ... They give us great prepa­ra­tion on both sides of the ball.”

As­so­ci­ated Press

AR­RIVAL — LSU head coach Ed Org­eron and his wife Kelly ar­rive with the team for the CFP Peach Bowl on Sun­day in At­lanta. LSU takes on Ok­la­homa in the Peach Bowl on Satur­day.

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