BATON ROUGE, La. -- LSU coach Les Miles has refused to say if running back Jeremy Hill, who was suspended for the Tigers' opener after an offseason arrest for throwing a punch outside a bar, will return for Saturday night's home opener against UAB.
But the unexpected emergence of Terrence Magee has made it clear that LSU's running game can be productive even if Hill, the Tigers' leading rusher in 2012, is benched several games.
Magee, who entered LSU's opener as the third-string back behind Alfred Blue and Kenny Hilliard, wound up rushing for a team-high 95 yards and two touchdowns in the No. 9 Tigers' 37-27 victory against TCU.
What remains to be seen is how his playing time sorts out once Hill gets back on the field.
"I am fortunate because I have an opportunity to play now," Magee said. "It felt good to be out there. I hadn't played a full game in two years. I was just thankful for the opportunity. No matter when you get in there, you have to make every snap count."
Blue, who was coming back from torn knee ligaments that sidelined him most of last season, picked up a hard-earned 89 yards rushing. Hilliard wound up carrying only four times for 8 yards.
The surprise was Magee, who had rushed for a total of 133 yards while bouncing back and forth between the roles of reserve running back and receiver since arriving at LSU in 2011.
"Terrence Magee is a talented guy," Miles said. "Given the opportunity, he'll make that kind of contribution throughout the year."