/Targeting call costs LSU’s White 1st half vs. Bama
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Targeting call costs LSU’s White 1st half vs. Bama

BATON ROUGE, La. — LSU All-American linebacker Devin White was called for targeting Saturday and will miss the first half of the Tigers’ forthcoming game against No. 1 Alabama.

White, the leader of the Tigers’ defense, was penalized after he hit Mississippi State quarterback Nick Fitzgerald in the fourth quarter of LSU’s 19-3 win. The ruling was upheld upon official review. By rule, players who are called for targeting in the second half of a game must sit out the first half of the following game.

“We probably won’t have Devin for the first half, so we’re going to have to make some adjustments there,” LSU coach Ed Orgeron said. “It’s gonna hurt our football team. But you know, hey, we gotta live with it. That’s what it is, that’s the rule, and that’s what we gotta do, and we gotta get somebody ready.”

The No. 5 Tigers (7-1) are off in Week 9 before taking on No. 1 Alabama on Nov. 3. That game will have significant College Football Playoff implications, given that both teams are currently among the top five nationally.

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards weighed in on the penalty via Twitter.

White came into Saturday’s game as the SEC’s third-leading tackler. He pressured Fitzgerald on the Bulldogs’ first drive Saturday, leading to an interception. That turnover resulted in LSU’s only touchdown of the night three plays later. White finished with 10 tackles and a pass breakup on Saturday.

The junior linebacker is No. 3 on Mel Kiper’s latest Big Board, which ranks the top NFL draft prospects. White was a preseason All-SEC selection and an ESPN.com midseason All-American.

Sophomore Patrick Queen is listed as the backup to White on the LSU depth chart. Orgeron declined to go into detail on Saturday about how he would prepare without White, saying he wanted to savor the win.

“I’m going to enjoy this win first, and maybe I’ll give you the game plan on Tuesday,” Orgeron said jokingly.

LSU linebacker Michael Divinity said White was in good spirits after the game and the team will deal with it and move on.

“We just gotta go with what the ref called,” Divinity said. “We can’t do anything about it … we gotta move forward.”

Said safety John Battle: “It’s just the next-man-up mentality. It sucks that it happened. I think that rule is kinda harsh, to suspend a guy for a whole half … but I know the type of person he is. He’s going to lift his teammates up, and I think the team will support the next man up.”