Preview: Can Texas A&M Finally Hand LSU a Loss?
BATON ROUGE, La. - It's been on their minds for over a year. Inches from victory, LSU saw their hopes of a potential College Football Playoff appearance dwindle on a 16-yard Quartney Davis touchdown.
Five hours, seven overtimes and 146 combined points later, Texas A&M walked away with a 74-72 victory. Now, the Tigers are hoping for redemption on their senior night.
The Aggies will hope to hand LSU their first loss of the season. The Tigers are one win away from a perfect season. And the only thing people will talk about until kickoff is the game from a season ago.
You could say tensions are high. Here's everything you need to know for Saturday's game.
Where: 6:00 p.m. Saturday, Nov.30 in Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Line: - 15.5 via LSU
Records: Texas A&M (7-4, 4-3 SEC), LSU (11-0, 6-0 SEC)
When Texas A&M is on Offense
One of the massive flaws A&M has suffered through all season is their inability to win on the ground. Isaiah obtained the starting role following an injury to Jashaun Corbin and has had three 100-plus rushing games. All those came against opponents with a record below .500
Last week, the team tallied a total of -1 rushing yards against Georgia. That cannot be the case against a down LSU defense. The Aggies will need to find a way for either Spiller or Kellen Mond to lead the charge with their legs.
A&M could take advantage of the Tigers' second. Safety Grant Delpit is expected to play after missing last week's contest against Arkansas. The Tigers ranked 43rd in pass defense, meaning quick plays against the secondary could lead to a high-scoring game.
When LSU is on Offense
Saturday will be a test for Mike Elko's secondary. Facing Heisman front-runner Joe Burrow is a tough ask, but so is covering the team's talented receiving corp. The Tigers feature two 1000-yard receivers, including Biletnikoff finalist Ja'Marr Chase.
Pressuring Burrow could lead to some stalled plays on offense. The question is, will the team be able to get in the backfield? LSU has allowed 23 sacks this season, 70th in the nation. Even when pressured, Burrow has found a way to improvise and keep drives alive with his footwork.
Limiting big plays should be the key for A&M's defense. Last weekend, the team allowed Georgia's D'Andre Swift to rush for over 100-yards, three runs reaching over 20. That cannot be the case in Tiger Stadium.
Texas A&M Will Win If: Cornerback Elijah Blades can play
This is more wishful thinking, but it should help. The Aggies have been without their top cover corner for three straight games with a shoulder injury. Against the Bulldogs, Blades likely would have been in coverage for the George Pickens touchdown.
A&M coach Jimbo Fisher stated that Blades would be a game-time decision move, meaning Debonie Renfro could start. With the Tigers featuring one of the league's top receiving corps, having a solid man in coverage will always help.
LSU Will Win If: They pressure Kellen Mond
Over the past month, Mond has improved as a pocket passer. He hasn't thrown an interception since mid-October and his footwork keeps drives progression. The second he feels the pressure; things tend to go south fast.
The Aggies would punt three straight drives to open last week in Athens. They picked up one first down in the entire first quarter. That was due to the pass rush of the Bulldogs. Should LSU's offense score early, the Tigers will need to pressure the junior. If that happens, it should be a quick game.
Emotions will be running high for many reasons on Saturday. Senior will say goodbyes, and top prospects for the NFL could be leaving Tigerland following the outcome. Also, rumor has it that the team has been waiting for redemption since December of last season.
They'll get it at home.
Give credit to the Aggies for persevering through a strict schedule this year. Facing five top-10 teams and three teams ranked No.1 by the AP voters could drive anyone mad. This LSU team is different than in year's past, mainly due to their offensive identity.
Expect a fourth-quarter surge from Mond and the offense, perhaps giving some hope to fans back in College Station. Overall though, it's going to be hard to imagine anyone stopping Ed Orgeron's offense at the start. The Aggies will have to wait two more years to end their winning drought in Baton Rouge.
Final: LSU 38, Texas A&M 31