WBRZ http://www.wbrz.com/ WBRZ LSU Sports LSU Sports en-us Copyright 2017, WBRZ. All Rights Reserved. Feed content is not avaialble for commercial use. () () Sat, 21 Jan 2017 17:01:32 GMT Synapse CMS 10 WBRZ http://www.wbrz.com/ 144 25 LSU football dismisses Travonte Valentine http://www.wbrz.com/news/lsu-football-dismisses-travonte-valentine/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/lsu-football-dismisses-travonte-valentine/ LSU Sports Thu, 19 Jan 2017 10:01:55 AM Kevin Dupuy LSU football dismisses Travonte Valentine

BATON ROUGE – LSU Football head coach Ed Orgeron announced Thursday that nose guard Travonte Valentine has been dismissed from the team.

According to a statement released Thursday morning, Valentine was dismissed due to violating team rules.

“At this point in time, Travonte is no longer part of our football program,” Orgeron said. “We wish him the best.”

Valentine is a sophomore from Hialeah, Florida. He played the first five games of the 2016 season recording a total of 10 tackles. He did not play in LSU’s final seven games.


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TAF calls Tiger Stadium break-ins "disappointing" http://www.wbrz.com/news/taf-calls-tiger-stadium-break-ins-disappointing-/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/taf-calls-tiger-stadium-break-ins-disappointing-/ LSU Sports Tue, 17 Jan 2017 10:55:42 PM Brett Buffington, Trey Couvillion TAF calls Tiger Stadium break-ins

BATON ROUGE – For the third time in just over two months, police at Louisiana State University are trying to figure out who broke in to Tiger Stadium. The latest incident occured over the weekend.

According to campus crime logs, a stadium employee reported the break-in Sunday morning. The burglars entered Death Valley sometime between Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning.

The head of the Tiger Athletic Foundation, Rick Perry, called the cases “disappointing” in an interview with News 2’s Brett Buffington Tuesday.

"This facility is so important to people, and it's such an iconic place," Perry said.

In November, two Alabama football fans were busted after breaking in to the stadium and damaging the “eye of the tiger” in center field.

Pictures taken by ESPN showed a scratch across the on-field artwork.

Earlier this month, LSU police were called after burglars took an A-T-V joyriding in the stadium’s south end zone. The News 2 Investigative Unit confirmed that incident was caught on the facility’s surveillance cameras, but LSU won’t release that video while the investigation is underway.

The school isn’t saying much about the latest break-in, only promising that the security situation will be fixed.

In a statement, Michael Bonnette, the spokesperson for the school’s athletic department said,

“LSU Police continue to investigate the two issues we had this month with someone entering Tiger Stadium without authorization. Fortunately, there was minimal damage done inside the stadium. We are taking the necessary steps to prevent this type of unauthorized activity from happening in the future.”

Perry adds he trust the school will do what’s right to protect the stadium.

"When something like this is done I think it's just disappointing for most people to think that someone would not think about what they're doing and do something like that," Perry said.

News 2 asked for a comment on the cases from the LSU Police Department, however the campus police aren’t allowed to talk without permission from the school.


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Lexie Priessman providing a spark for LSU gymnastics http://www.wbrz.com/news/lexie-priessman-providing-a-spark-for-lsu-gymnastics/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/lexie-priessman-providing-a-spark-for-lsu-gymnastics/ LSU Sports Tue, 17 Jan 2017 7:41:51 PM Chris Price Lexie Priessman providing a spark for LSU gymnastics

BATON ROUGE - Lexie Priessman is starting to show glimpses of her otherworldly potential at the collegiate level, but it hasn't been easy. 

Priessman, once a top-tier Olympic hopeful, suffered several injuries in her junior career and has had 5 surgeries for various injuries to her shoulders and ankles. 

After sitting out 4 meets during her freshman year, Priessman has now competed in both of LSU's meets as a sophomore, and scored 9.9's in her two events in the Tigers win over Alabama last Friday. 


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LSU Gymnastics ranked second after two weeks http://www.wbrz.com/news/lsu-gymnastics-ranked-second-after-two-weeks/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/lsu-gymnastics-ranked-second-after-two-weeks/ LSU Sports Mon, 16 Jan 2017 2:04:42 PM Jeremy Krail LSU Gymnastics ranked second after two weeks

BATON ROUGE - With two of the four highest team scores in the country two weeks into the 2017 season, the LSU gymnastics team is No. 2 in the latest RoadToNationals.com rankings released Monday.

The Tigers are 2-0 overall after a 197.575 - 197.100 victory over No. 4 Alabama. The team score against the Crimson Tide was the highest in Tuscaloosa in school history.

LSU ranks No. 1 on vault after an average score of 49.563 and an average team score of 197.700. 

The Tigers totaled a score of 49.563 Friday, the highest vault score in the country in the last two seasons.

Senior Ashleigh Gnat highlighted the vault team with a 10.0, her third on vault and seventh perfect score overall. Gnat sits in the top spot individually in the country with an average of 9.963.

The Tigers will take on Texas Woman’s at 7:30 p.m. Friday inside the PMAC.


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Coates leads No. 5 South Carolina past LSU, 84-61 http://www.wbrz.com/news/coates-leads-no-5-south-carolina-past-lsu-84-61/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/coates-leads-no-5-south-carolina-past-lsu-84-61/ LSU Sports Sun, 15 Jan 2017 4:21:52 PM Associated Press Coates leads No. 5 South Carolina past LSU, 84-61

BATON ROUGE - Alaina Coates had 24 points and 11 rebounds, and No. 5 South Carolina again overcame the absence of All-American A'ja Wilson, beating LSU 84-61 on Sunday.

Coates scored 18 of her points in the first half - eight of those from the free throw line - en route to the powerful 6-foot-4 center's 53rd career double-double. Allisha Gray scored 21 and Bianca Cuevas-Moore added 17 points for South Carolina (15-1, 5-0 Southeastern Conference), which now rides a nine-game winning streak.

Chloe Jackson scored 24 for LSU (14-4, 3-2), which lost for the first time in four games. Raigyne Moncrief added 13 points.

The Gamecocks, who shot 57 percent, never trailed by more than two points and never trailed after Cuevas-Moore's jumper tied it at 11 half way through the first period.


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Collins scores 24, Alabama beats LSU, 81-66, with late surge http://www.wbrz.com/news/collins-scores-24-alabama-beats-lsu-81-66-with-late-surge/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/collins-scores-24-alabama-beats-lsu-81-66-with-late-surge/ LSU Sports Sat, 14 Jan 2017 8:29:29 PM Brett Martel Collins scores 24, Alabama beats LSU, 81-66, with late surge

BATON ROUGE - Corban Collins scored a season-high 24 points against the school where he began his college career and Alabama defeated reeling LSU 81-66 on Saturday.

Collins, a post-graduate transfer who spent his freshman season with the Tigers in 2012-13 and played at Morehead State for two seasons, was 7 of 11 from 3-point range after going just 2 of 10 from deep over his previous three games.

Riley Norris scored a season-high 20 points, including a pair of second-half 3s as the Crimson Tide (10-6, 3-1 Southeastern Conference) broke open a 56-all tie during the last five minutes for its fifth victory in six games.

Duop Reath had 12 points and nine rebounds for LSU (9-7, 1-4), which has lost three straight and five of six.


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Malachi Dupre will enter the NFL Draft http://www.wbrz.com/news/malachi-dupre-will-enter-the-nfl-draft/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/malachi-dupre-will-enter-the-nfl-draft/ LSU Sports Fri, 13 Jan 2017 5:25:49 PM Kevin Dupuy Malachi Dupre will enter the NFL Draft

BATON ROUGE – LSU football wide receiver Malachi Dupre officially announced Friday that he was leaving for the NFL draft.

Dupre made the announcement by posting a video on Twitter. The video includes a statement where Dupre wished well to the LSU football team.

"I want to personally thank every teammate I have shared the special opportunity with to play for such a great program as LSU," Dupre said. "We will be brothers for life."

The full statement can read below:

"LSU.. I can not thank you enough for the past 3 years of my life. During this time I have built relationships and friendships that will last a lifetime. I will forever cherish the memories and great times I experienced at LSU. Coach Miles, I want ro personally thank you for giving a young kid with a dream the opportunity to make that dream come true. And to Coach Orgeron and all my position coaches Henry, Ball and Craig I want to thank you for everything as well. I want to personally thank every teammate I have shared the special opportunity with to play for such a great program as LSU. We will be brothers for life. With that being said it is time to part ways with the great place I have called home for the past 3 years for now, but LSU every ending has a new beginning and that new beginning for me is pursuing another dream of mine and that is to play in the National Football League. So after long thought and consideration I will be declaring for the 2017 NFL draft. Thank you Louisiana."


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LSU baseball team ranks second in Perfect Game poll http://www.wbrz.com/news/lsu-baseball-team-ranks-second-in-perfect-game-poll/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/lsu-baseball-team-ranks-second-in-perfect-game-poll/ LSU Sports Wed, 11 Jan 2017 1:32:06 PM Alicia Serrano LSU baseball team ranks second in Perfect Game poll

BATON ROUGE – The LSU baseball team was ranked second in the 2017 Perfect Game preseason poll released Wednesday.

The ranking marks the second No. 2 ranking in the past three weeks. The team is also ranked second in the Collegiate Baseball poll that was announced in late December.

LSU is one of five Southeastern Conference teams appearing in the 2017 Perfect Game preseason Top 10, along with Florida, South Carolina, Ole Miss and Vanderbilt. Texas Christian University tops the list and will face LSU on Mar. 3 at Minute Maid Park in Houston.

LSU begins preseason practice on Friday, Jan. 27 and opens the 2017 season on Feb. 17 at 7 p.m. The team will face the Air Force Falcons.

For more information about the Perfect Game poll click here.

The poll is as follows:

1. TCU 
2. LSU
3. Florida State
4. Florida
5. South Carolina
6. Louisville
7. Oregon State
8. Ole Miss
9. Vanderbilt
10. East Carolina
11. Oklahoma State
12. North Carolina
13. Louisiana
14. NC State
15. Cal State Fullerton
16. Stanford
17. Texas
18. Washington
19. Clemson
20. Houston
21. Rice
22. Cal Poly
23. Maryland
24. Coastal Carolina
25. Arizona


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Jamal Adams' father inspires him to make it to NFL http://www.wbrz.com/news/jamal-adams-father-inspires-him-to-make-it-to-nfl/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/jamal-adams-father-inspires-him-to-make-it-to-nfl/ LSU Sports Sun, 8 Jan 2017 8:09:46 PM Brandon Saho Jamal Adams' father inspires him to make it to NFL

BATON ROUGE - "As for my father, I can not think of a better role model and example. You being selected as a first round draft pick to the Giants is something that has always fueled me, made me eager to work, and made me feel like my goals were tangible because my own father had already achieved them."

The father-son bond between George and Jamal Adams is one of both family and football. His dad being motivation that he carried with him at LSU and now inspiring him on to the NFL.

"George, his dad's challenge to him is something he let everyone know. In other words, his father didn't say I was a first round draft pick. But what he said was just by being there and being a part of that family, he challenged him to do better," said Les Miles.

His father's career as a running back in the NFL was cut short because of injury, something George didn't want for his son.

"I had him at running back and safety, but my thing is I've already had two hip replacements and still am having trouble with my hip. I didn't want him to take that pounding, so I wanted him to be on the other side of the ball where he delievered the licks instead of take the licks."

George has watched Jamal delever the licks at LSU for the past 3 years, now both are just waiting to see where he'll play next.

"I know I got drafted, I was the 19th pick in the first round but this means more, because I'm more excited for my son."

"It's definitely a dream come true. My goal is top 10, but sometimes I might knock it down to top seven, top six. But no matter where ever I land it's really in God's plan. And I'm just looking forward to it."

"I keep telling my wife I won't break down, but if he goes that high, you'll probably see me crying like a baby."

Adams is projected to be a first rounder, and maybe even be taken in the top ten. But no matter when his name is called, it'll be a proud moment for this father and son.


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LSU's Jamal Adams will enter NFL draft http://www.wbrz.com/news/lsu-s-jamal-adams-will-enter-nfl-draft/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/lsu-s-jamal-adams-will-enter-nfl-draft/ LSU Sports Fri, 6 Jan 2017 11:00:38 AM Kevin Dupuy LSU's Jamal Adams will enter NFL draft

BATON ROUGE – LSU football All-American safety Jamal Adams says he is going pro.

Adams made the announcement that he was entering the NFL draft at LSU Football operations Friday morning.

Adams started all 12 games for LSU’s defense in the 2016 season, earning First Team All American from CBS Sports and Pro Football Focus. He recorded 76 tackles and 7.5 tackles for losses.

LSU’s defense ranked among the best in the nation, only allowing 16 touchdowns in 12 games.

According to LSUsports.net, Adam’s best game of the year came against Louisville in the Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl on Dec. 31.

Former head coach Les Miles was also in attendance to watch the announcement.


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Championship memorabilia stolen from former LSU player's home http://www.wbrz.com/news/championship-memorabilia-stolen-from-former-lsu-player-s-home/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/championship-memorabilia-stolen-from-former-lsu-player-s-home/ LSU Sports Tue, 3 Jan 2017 11:21:04 AM Alicia Serrano Championship memorabilia stolen from former LSU player's home

SHREVEPORT – A former LSU football player took to social media after being robbed of several items of championship memorabilia in hopes of finding the person responsible.

Seth Fruge, a walk-on player of the LSU football team from 2009 to 2013, posted on Facebook Monday night that he had his SEC championship ring, Outback bowl ring, three-year letterman watch, BCS National Championship watch and Matthews bow stolen from his home during Christmas break.

Fruge wrote that whoever is responsible took more than just several material items.

"You stole a reminder of the blood, sweat, and tears over 5 years that I put in with brothers from every race/color, you stole away an award for the thousands of hours of time and relentless effort put in by every player, coach, and trainer that it took to earn them," Fruge wrote.

Fruge wrote that he prays that justice is served and his memorabilia returned to him. Since Fruge published the post to Facebook, it has been shared more than 38,000 times as of Tuesday.

Read the full post here:


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Hometown eyes on Derrius Guice for Citrus Bowl breakout http://www.wbrz.com/news/hometown-eyes-on-derrius-guice-for-citrus-bowl-breakout/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/hometown-eyes-on-derrius-guice-for-citrus-bowl-breakout/ LSU Sports Fri, 30 Dec 2016 4:49:40 PM Earl Phelps Hometown eyes on Derrius Guice for Citrus Bowl breakout

BATON ROUGE – Just off LSU’s campus, down Nicholson Drive, sits the Campus Cuts Barber Shop.

The autographed photos on the walls is the place where student athletes get their hair styled and sides trimmed.

Derrius Guice has been coming there for years. And the barbers are some of his biggest fans.

“He’s strong. He’s got a good eye for defense,” Senera Johnson said. “I just look for him to have a real productive game.”

Guice went to Catholic High, where he excelled on the football field. But he grew up on Washington Street, on the Southside of Baton Rouge. It is also the place where many of his friends and even relatives landed in trouble with the law.

“Grew up in a real, real hard neighborhood, Southside,” Johnson said. “Everybody knows about the Southside. Just see him and where he’s at today. I’m proud of him personally.”

Guice’s buddies at the barber shop are not the only ones expecting him to have a breakout game tomorrow at the Citrus Bowl. His coach, Ed Orgeron, also expects big things from the running back born and raised in Baton Rouge.

“He’s a great back,” Orgeron said. “He’s a great young man. We are going to have to run the football. We are going to have to keep the ball away from their offense and do a good job of clock management. He’s going to be a big part of that.”

So even though a Heisman Trophy winner will be on the field tomorrow, it’s the home town boy, Derrius Guice, who folks in this town will be looking to see.


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LSU Tigers fill day with Bowl preps and roller-coasters http://www.wbrz.com/news/lsu-tigers-fill-day-with-bowl-preps-and-roller-coasters/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/lsu-tigers-fill-day-with-bowl-preps-and-roller-coasters/ LSU Sports Wed, 28 Dec 2016 11:13:55 PM Michael Cauble LSU Tigers fill day with Bowl preps and roller-coasters

Orlando, FL - The LSU Tiger football team spent their first full day in Orlando with a good mix of work and fun.  

Coach Ed Orgeron worked his Tigers out at Celebration High School for more than a couple of hours in the early afternoon and then turned his team loose to enjoy themselves in the Magic Kingdom.

Nearly half the team took the opportunity to unwind at Walt Disney World on rollercoasters and other theme park rides before heading back to the team hotel for the night.

Those in attendance said it was a great team bonding moment and a welcomed break from the football heavy diet the team has had since coming back from Christmas break.

LSU will play Louisville in the Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl on Saturday morning at 10:00 am, the game will be broadcast on WBRZ-TV.


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Craig Victor II dismissed from LSU Basketball team http://www.wbrz.com/news/craig-victor-ii-dismissed-from-lsu-basketball-team/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/craig-victor-ii-dismissed-from-lsu-basketball-team/ LSU Sports Thu, 29 Dec 2016 4:28:49 PM Kevin Dupuy Craig Victor II dismissed from LSU Basketball team

BATON ROUGE – Craig Victor II was dismissed from the LSU men’s basketball team, according to a statement released by the university Thursday.

Head coach Johnny Jones said Victor was dismissed for a violation of team rules. The statement did not say specify which team rules were violated.

“We are obviously disappointed that we had to take this action,” Jones said. “When you commit to being part of our basketball program, there are expectations and standards that we demand from our players.”

According to LSUsports.net, Victor is a junior forward from New Orleans. He played eight games with five starts for the LSU basketball team.


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LSU's Fournette says he's sitting out the Citrus Bowl http://www.wbrz.com/news/lsu-s-fournette-says-he-s-sitting-out-the-citrus-bowl/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/lsu-s-fournette-says-he-s-sitting-out-the-citrus-bowl/ LSU Sports Fri, 16 Dec 2016 1:40:22 PM Kevin Dupuy LSU's Fournette says he's sitting out the Citrus Bowl

BATON ROUGE – Leonard Fournette will not play another game at LSU.

Fournette addressed the media Friday afternoon at LSU Football Ops.

“I wouldn’t want to be at any other school,” Fournette said. “LSU is forever in my heart.”

LSU’s star running back said he and head coach Ed Orgeron made the decision to sit out the Citrus Bowl to be 100 percent healthy for the NFL Draft.

“When Coach O was at USC he told me one day he would coach me,” Fournette said. “And look what happened.”

LSU is set to take on No. 13 Louisville at the Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl on Dec. 31. Kickoff is set for 10 a.m. Central Time at Camping World Stadium in Orlando.

WBRZ Channel 2 will broadcast the game locally.


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LSU's Dave Aranda to get 3-year, $5.5 million contract http://www.wbrz.com/news/lsu-s-dave-aranda-to-get-3-year-5-5-million-contract/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/lsu-s-dave-aranda-to-get-3-year-5-5-million-contract/ LSU Sports Wed, 7 Dec 2016 12:44:22 PM Alicia Serrano LSU's Dave Aranda to get 3-year, $5.5 million contract

BATON ROUGE – LSU Defensive Coordinator Dave Aranda will get a three-year, $5.5 million contract from LSU that also includes him associate head coach.

The agreement runs through Mar. 31 2020 and includes a first-year salary of $1.8 million followed by $1.85 million and then $1.9 million. Aranda will have the option to buyout of 40 percent of his remaining guaranteed base and supplemental salary if he accepts a non-head coaching position within 500 miles of Baton Rouge and 15 percent if the position is outside of Baton Rouge.

After Dec. 1 2019 there is no buyout option, according to LSU.

"Dave is an outstanding, coach, teacher and man. We are fortunate to have him as an LSU Tiger," Head Coach Ed Orgeron said.

Aranda said that he is excited for his next chapter at LSU.

"We are excited to build on what we've started. LSU is a special place. Our outstanding student-athletes, the passion of our fans, the first class facilities and the commitment to excellence from the administration makes LSU one of the premier programs in college football and I'm thrilled to be part of it," Aranda said.

Aranda's new deal is pending approval from the LSU Board of Supervisors.


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LSU halfway through allotted 9,500 tickets to Citrus Bowl http://www.wbrz.com/news/lsu-halfway-through-allotted-9-500-tickets-to-citrus-bowl/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/lsu-halfway-through-allotted-9-500-tickets-to-citrus-bowl/ LSU Sports Wed, 7 Dec 2016 9:29:53 AM Associated Press LSU halfway through allotted 9,500 tickets to Citrus Bowl

BATON ROUGE - University officials say LSU has sold 4,200 of its allotted 9,500 tickets to the Citrus Bowl against Louisville.

The 20th-ranked Tigers and the 15th-ranked Cardinals meet on Dec. 31.

The Advocate reports the flashy matchup between LSU's stiff defense and Louisville's potential Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Lamar Jackson has helped make the game one of the most attractive of any bowl this season.

The game kicks off at 10 a.m. in Orlando, Florida.


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Fournette to enter NFL draft following Citrus Bowl http://www.wbrz.com/news/fournette-to-enter-nfl-draft-following-citrus-bowl/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/fournette-to-enter-nfl-draft-following-citrus-bowl/ LSU Sports Mon, 5 Dec 2016 1:15:27 PM Alicia Serrano Fournette to enter NFL draft following Citrus Bowl

BATON ROUGE – LSU junior running back Leonard Fournette announced on Monday that he will be entering the NFL draft.

Fournette made the announcement through a written letter that he posted on Twitter on Monday explaining his decision to enter the draft following the Citrus Bowl against Louisville. 

"I make this announcement now so that there will not be speculation and distractions while we prepare," Fournette wrote.

Throughout the letter, Fournette wrote how grateful he is for the time spent at LSU and as a Tiger and describes the feeling of leaving as "bittersweet."

Read Fournette's full letter below:


"I sit and reflect, as I pen this letter, on my journey as a Tiger. I think about how you all supported me - even before I made the official announcement that I would attend LSU - and I am forever grateful for your continued support throughout both my high school and college careers. You all have watched me grow from a teenager to a young man and were even there for the birth of my daughter Lyric.

When I decided to attend LSU and major in human resources, I also had hopes of winning a National Championship. Things did not go as I planned, but when I consider the passion and commitment of the LSU fans, coaches and my teammates, I am still very grateful for my experience here.

This has been a very trying season, but I have continued to fight to play to the best of my ability. Each day I study and work and rehab with my coaches, trainers and teammates so that I can return to the field for the bowl game, and help our team bring another victory home.


I am thankful that you all have been there through the good, bad, ups and downs. I am thankful for my coaches who have helped me grow into my full potential. I am thankful for my teammates who have been on the field with me through victories and defeats. I am thankful for Coach O stepping in this season, and I wish him well as he officially takes over as Head Coach of the LSU Football team. I am thankful for the entire football staff and support group. I am thankful, so it is bittersweet that I must also say goodbye.


I will be declaring for the 2017 NFL Draft after our bowl game. I make this announcement now so that there will not be speculation and distractions while we prepare. I want everyone to know that I will forever treasure my experience as a Tiger. I will take with me the many valuable lessons that I have learned here, and the love that you have shown me throughout the years. I will forever be an LSU Tiger. Thank you.


Forever LSU and Always BUGANATION,
Leonard Fournette, #7."


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LSU to face Louisville in Citrus Bowl http://www.wbrz.com/news/lsu-to-face-louisville-in-citrus-bowl/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/lsu-to-face-louisville-in-citrus-bowl/ LSU Sports Sun, 4 Dec 2016 2:21:29 PM Kevin Dupuy LSU to face Louisville in Citrus Bowl

ORLANDO - The LSU Tigers will face No. 13 Louisville in the Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl on Dec. 31.

Florida Citrus Sports' Chairman Harold Mills made the announcement Sunday afternoon. The game will be the first time LSU will play Louisville. 

"Looking forward to spending New Year's Eve in the Citrus Bowl!" LSU head coach Ed Orgeron shared on Twitter. "What an honor to represent the Tiger Family in such a great game!"

Kickoff is set for 10 a.m. Central Time Saturday Dec. 31 at Camping World Stadium in Orlando. WBRZ will broadcast the game locally.


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No. 1 Alabama romps past Florida 54-16 in SEC title game http://www.wbrz.com/news/no-1-alabama-romps-past-florida-54-16-in-sec-title-game-90671/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/no-1-alabama-romps-past-florida-54-16-in-sec-title-game-90671/ LSU Sports Sat, 3 Dec 2016 7:41:44 PM Paul Newberry No. 1 Alabama romps past Florida 54-16 in SEC title game

ATLANTA - Alabama showed off all its weapons in the Southeastern Conference championship game.

Now, the Crimson Tide can expect a return trip to Atlanta for the College Football Playoff.

The nation's No. 1 team scored off a blocked punt and an interception return Saturday before wearing down No. 15 Florida in the second half with a dominant running game. The result was a 54-16 rout that positioned Alabama to go for its second straight national title and its fifth crown in the last nine years under coach Nick Saban.

Next up: a likely semifinal game at the Georgia Dome on Dec. 31.

The Crimson Tide (13-0, No. 1 CFP) bolted to a 16-9 lead in the first quarter, despite being held to minus-7 yards and no first downs. They scored one touchdown off a blocked punt, another off an interception return. A field goal was set up by another pick - one of three thrown by Florida quarterback Austin Appleby in the first half.

The Tide led 33-16 at halftime - the most points ever scored in the first two quarters of an SEC title game - and iced the victory with scoring drives of 98 and 91 yards, sparked by a goal-line stand that finished off the last gasp by the Gators (8-4, No. 15 CFP)

A 24-point underdog, Florida had a few shining moments against the nation's only unbeaten Power Five team. The Gators marched the length of the field on the opening possession, the first touchdown given up by the Tide in more than 17 quarters. They had another long TD drive near the end of the first half to give themselves a glimmer of hope.

After Alabama went three-and-out to start the second half, Florida drove to the Crimson Tide 1. Jordan Scarlett attempted to leap over the line on third-and-goal, but he never even got off the ground; Rashaan Evans blew by his blocker and slammed the running back for a 1-yard loss. Appleby threw incomplete in the back of the end zone on fourth down, giving the Tide all the momentum.

Damien Harris broke off a 23-yard run, Jalen Hurts completed a 31-yard pass to ArDarius Stewart on third-and-19, and bruising Bo Scarbrough finished things off with a 34-yard run and a 2-yard touchdown.

The Tide went nearly as far on its next possession, driving from its own 9 for another touchdown that sent most of the Florida fans heading for the exit early in the fourth quarter. Scarbrough carried it six times, including a 1-yard plunge into the end zone.

After pulling its starters, Alabama scored one last touchdown to finish the second-most point ever scored against the Gators, topped only by Nebraska's 62-24 victory for the national title in the 1996 Fiesta Bowl.

THE TAKEAWAY

Alabama: The offense struggled in the first half against Florida's highly ranked defense, and the defense surrendered a couple of long scoring drives. It may be a bit of nitpicking, but for one half at least the Tide didn't look quite as a dominant as it did leading up to the SEC championship game. Of course, Alabama dominated the second half.

Florida: The Gators must address their offensive woes after another shaky performance, which included those three backbreaking interceptions in the first half. There's no reason for a team with Florida's resources, recruiting base and history to wind up with a unit that ranked No. 114 nationally in total yards before playing the Crimson Tide.

POLL IMPLICATIONS

Alabama will remain No. 1 in The Associated Press poll, as well as the College Football Playoff rankings. Florida can expect to drop four or five spots.

UP NEXT

Alabama: Heads to the College Football Playoff for the third year in a row. The Tide will probably meet the No. 4-ranked team in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl on New Year's Eve.

Florida: The Gators could still wind up with a major bowl bid as the SEC's representative at the Sugar Bowl. But two straight ugly losses will likely keep the Gators closer to home at either the Citrus (Orlando) or Outback (Tampa).


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