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LSU Secondary Reclaims A Ton of Confidence in 20-7 Loss to Texas A&M

Tigers clamp down on Kellen Mond and company, hold Aggies to 105 yards through the air on 32% completion percentage

We wanted to see it for consecutive weeks and the LSU defense proved Saturday night against No.5 Texas A&M that it has made some real strides in the right direction. And it was the play out of the secondary that was a big reason for the success against Kellen Mond and the Aggie offense. 

In Saturday night's 20-7 loss to the Aggies, the LSU defense surrendered just 267 yards of total offense and 13 points to Mond and company, who for the second consecutive year, turned in a dud against the LSU secondary. The senior quarterback threw for 105 yards on 11-of-34 completions against the LSU secondary.

Over the last two seasons, Mond has thrown for 197 yards and three picks while completing just 21-of-64 passes. Needless to say the LSU secondary wakes up when taking on the Aggie veteran. Derek Stingley, Cordale Flott, Jay Ward and JaCoby Stevens all had their moments to shine this weekend as the defense tried to hold the fort down for the offense. 

It all started with minutes to go until kickoff, when it was reported that freshman Elias Ricks was not warming up with the ones, leading many to believe he would not be playing. Instead, it was last week's hero, Jay Ward, who earned the start against Mond, who had played well leading into the game. 

Ricks' stint on the bench was short lived as he was able to get in a few snaps before LSU permanently decided to shut him down due to an injury he suffered this week. Ward recorded a pass breakup with Ricks on the sidelines but it was the sophomore Flott who turned in possibly his best outing of the season.

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Flott recorded eight tackles, one tackle for a loss and two pass breakups while Stingley broke up three passes of his own on the evening.

"Really impressed with our man-to-man coverage, really impressed with the communication," Orgeron said. "Not too many breakdowns, giving up explosive pass plays. I thought the secondary was probably the most improved group on the field."

There was a lot of truth in what Orgeron said in the post game press conference. The secondary was communicating extremely well as the longest completion of the day went for just 18 yards. Even the linebackers like Jabril Cox and Micah Baskerville had some great moments in man coverage throughout the course of the game. 

Penalties were few and far between and most importantly, the unit was able to get off the field on third down, holding a 62% third down team to just 2-of-16 on the night. 

Regardless of the outcome of the game, it was a performance the unit can take to the bank and continue to improve on, particularly with Heisman favorites Mac Jones and Kyle Trask next on the schedule in back-to-back weeks. It'll be worth monitoring the progress of Ricks as LSU will want to be at full strength against two of the top passing offenses in the country. 

The game against Alabama will be one Stingley has likely circled in red pen after turning in his worst performance of the 2019 season against Devonta Smith and the Crimson Tide. The sophomore cornerback will need to be at his best if LSU's defense hopes to keep up its stellar play.