No. 19 LSU wants to validate turnaround vs. Texas A&M
Update: LSU defeats Texas A&M 45-21 in season closer.
BATON ROUGE- Now in his fifth year at LSU, defensive end Christian LaCouture is about to play his final game in Tiger Stadium — and expects it to be an emotional one for a number of reasons.
LaCouture, who has a team-high six sacks, has loved playing in 102,000-seat Death Valley. There's also the matter of validating the remarkable turnaround the 19th-ranked Tigers have pulled off since an upset loss to Troy on Sept. 30.
Texas A&M (7-4, 4-3 Southeastern Conference), which visits LSU on Saturday night, is the last team between the Tigers (8-3, 5-2, No. 18 CFP) and their best record in the SEC since 2012.
"We are playing confident right now. On Senior Day, there is a lot of emotion at the start. Then, you have to focus on the game," LaCouture said. "We have to finish strong. We need a win to end on a high note. We want to go into the bowl game on a winning streak. We want no bad taste in our mouth."
LSU has won two straight and five of its last six, the lone loss coming at No. 1 Alabama.
The Aggies also have won two straight.
Beating LSU "would mean a lot," Aggies receiver Christian Kirk said. "It's definitely a big-time game."
This is also the third straight year these teams have played a regular season finale with the future of one team's coach in question.
In 2015, Les Miles saved his job — albeit not for long — by beating Texas A&M. Last season's game in College Station was LSU coach Ed Orgeron's last as interim coach. Less than 48 hours after a convincing victory over the Aggies, LSU announced Orgeron would keep the job.
Now Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin's future appears uncertain.
Sumlin said he hasn't been told he'd be fired after the LSU game and stressed that he's not focused on his job status right now.
"I'm in the process right now of working on winning this week," Sumlin said. "In this time, you can't worry about what people say. What you can worry about is the response of your team, the response of the people in this building and the trust level in there, and how they perform."