The No. 15 Texas A&M Aggies visit Baton Rouge and the LSU Tigers on Saturday evening at 6:00 p.m. CT at Tiger Stadium, in a game that will surely be an emotional one for the Tigers, but also one that the Aggies will be playing with some emotions as well.
LSU enters what will surely be the last game for coach Ed Orgeron unless the Tigers win and become bowl eligible. Orgeron leaves after just six years at the helm amid a bit of scandal, and just two years removed from a national title.
The Aggies, on the other hand, are playing in their last regular-season game, hoping to spoil the send-off of Orgeron by the Tigers, and put win No. 9 up on board, in anticipation of another New Year's Six bowl game berth.
The A&M season has not gone as expected. Anticipation was high before the Kent State game on Sept. 4, that the Aggies would make the College Football Playoff and compete for a national title. But an early-season injury to starting quarterback Haynes King, injuries to the offensive line, and two early SEC losses to Arkansas and Mississippi State derailed those hopes.
After the upset win over then-No. 1 Alabama on Oct. 9, A&M had renewed hopes of a possible SEC West title, which could have been achieved had they won out their schedule, and the Crimson Tide lost again.
But the Aggies' Nov. 13 loss to Ole Miss in Oxford, Mississippi put that dream on hold until next season. And that loss might have cost them that New Year's Six bowl game, although it could still happen, however unlikely.
The strength of the Aggies' offense all season has been the running game. And that should be the focus Saturday evening in Baton Rouge.
A&M has more than one capable ball carrier, with Isaiah Spiller leading the team with 984 yards on 168 carries and is second on the team with six touchdowns. Devon Achane leads the team in touchdowns with nine and is second in carries with 118 and yards with 861.
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Combine that with LSU's "Jeckel & Hyde" run defense, and it could make for a big day for the Aggies on the ground.
This season, the Tigers have kept three opponents to under 60 yards on the ground. One of those teams was Alabama, which had just six. At the same time, LSU has allowed three opponents to exceed the 200-yard mark and score at least two rushing touchdowns, UCLA, Kentucky, and Ole Miss, all losses.
When the Tigers have held opposing rushing attacks to under 140 yards, they're 5-1. When they fail to do so, they're 0-5.
Therein lies the key for the Aggies, who have not played well on the road this season. Keep the ball on the ground. Feed Spiller and Achane, and get wide receiver/running back Ainias Smith involved early.
By doing so, the Aggies should have no problem spoiling the last game in Ed Orgeron's LSU coaching career.
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