For LSU fans hoping to see Arden Key in action one more time before he heads to the NFL, LSU coach Ed Orgeron provided some good news.
Orgeron said he expects Key to play in the Citrus Bowl on January 1, as reported by The Advocate (Baton Rouge, La.). Orgeron made the comments during a Citrus Bowl teleconference that also included Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly.
Key missed the last two games of the regular season, against Tennessee and Texas A&M. While nothing is guaranteed yet, Orgeron believes his star pass rusher will be able to recover in time for the New Year’s Day game in Orlando.
“I expect him to play. … As far as I know, he’s going to play,” Orgeron said.
Key, who was viewed by some as a potential overall No. 1 draft pick before the season, has struggled with assorted injuries to his shoulder, knee and finger. He has played for several weeks with fingers taped together to protect a broken pinky finger.
In eight games, Key has 33 tackles, four sacks, 5.5 half tackles for loss, one forced fumble and a team-high eight quarterback hurries.
Despite the injuries, Key is widely expected to depart for the NFL, a prospect that Orgeron has previously acknowledged. Despite Key’s injury setbacks, some personnel evaluators still regard him as the top edge rusher in the 2018 draft.
The bowl will be the third postseason meeting of LSU and Notre Dame in the past 11 years. The teams also met in the Sugar Bowl after the 2006 season, a 41-14 victory for second-year coach Les Miles, and in the 2014 Music City Bowl. In the latter game, freshman Leonard Fournette scored on an 89-yard rush and a 100-yard kickoff return, but the Tigers lost 31-28 on Kyle Brindza’s 32-yard field goal as time expired.
Early lines have LSU favored by 2.5 points.
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