LSU’s Ojulari, Northwestern State’s Antonio recognized for game-changing efforts

PLAYMAKING TIGER:  Defensive end BJ Ojulari was a difference-maker for LSU Saturday night at Auburn and won his second Southeastern Conference award in five games on Monday. (File photo courtesy LSU Athletics)


BATON ROUGE – For the second time this year, LSU’s BJ Ojulari has been tabbed as the SEC Defensive Lineman of the Week for his performance in the Tigers’ 21-17 win over Auburn on Saturday.

Ojulari led LSU with four tackles, including a pair of sacks, as the Tigers held Auburn scoreless for the final 39 minutes of the contest. Ojulari’s sacks accounted for eight yards in losses with one resulting in an LSU touchdown.

Down 17-0 in the second quarter, Ojulari sacked and stripped Auburn quarterback Robby Ashford of the ball, which was picked up by Jay Ward, who returned it 23 yards for a touchdown. Ojulari’s sack of Ashford ignited a rally that saw the Tigers outscore Auburn, 21-0, over the final 39 minutes of the contest.

In the second half, LSU’s defense held Auburn to 145 total yards, caused two turnovers, a pair of punts and forced a turnover on downs.

The 17-point comeback was the biggest on the road in a SEC contest for LSU since 1979 when the Tigers erased a 17-0 deficit in a 28-24 win over Ole Miss.

Earlier this year, Ojulari earned SEC Defensive Lineman of the Week for his play in the win over Mississippi State. With Monday’s recognition, Ojulari now has now been honored as the SEC Defensive Lineman of the Week four times during his career.

The 25th-ranked Tigers are home Saturday with an 11 a.m. kickoff against No. 8 Tennessee in a game on ESPN.

LSU will be without defensive back Sevyn Banks for 5-6 weeks, head coach Brian Kelly said Monday. On the opening kickoff Saturday, Banks suffered what turned out to be a spinal cord bruise. He was stretchered off the field to a nearby Auburn hospital, but was cleared to return home to Baton Rouge with the LSU team.

NORTHWESTERN STATE:  Wide receiver Javon Antonio was named both the Southland Conference and the Louisiana Sports Writers Association Offensive Player of the Week on Monday, following a dominating performance in the Demons’ 36-33 comeback victory against Nicholls on Saturday.

A redshirt junior from LaPlace and East St. John High School, Antonio produced his second straight game with nine catches, at least 100 receiving yards and two touchdowns. Northwestern has won each time.

His scores Saturday came in the final 1:34 of the game as the Demons erased a 12-point deficit in an 89-second span.

Antonio’s 27-yard touchdown grab pulled Northwestern within five points and his 3-yard score with 9 seconds left and ensuing 2-point conversion catch capped the Demons’ first win against Nicholls since 2015.

A week after quarterback Zachary Clement was named LSWA Offensive Player of the Week, Antonio became the first Demon to earn the Southland’s weekly offensive award this season after collecting nine catches for 132 yards and two touchdowns.

The first individual award of Antonio’s career made the Hinds Community College product the first Demon named Southland Offensive Player of the Week since quarterback Bryce Rivers on April 12, 2021.

Through five games, Antonio leads the Demons in receptions (33), receiving yards (367) and receiving touchdowns (4). He is the Southland Conference leader in receptions per game (6.6) and ranks 18th nationally in receiving touchdowns and 38th in receiving yards per game at 73.4.

The Demons (2-3) travel to Charleston, Illinois, to face Eastern Illinois (1-3) on Saturday. Kickoff is set for 2 p.m. with streaming video available on ESPN3. The Panthers were off Saturday after getting their first win Sept. 24, 35-7 at Murray State.