LSU falls in tough road battle at #5 Texas A&M
BRYAN-COLLEGE STATION, Texas - Defense and special teams carried fifth-ranked Texas A&M Saturday night to a 20-7 victory over LSU on a rainy evening at Kyle Field.
The LSU defense was exceptional as well in the rugged contest, allowing the Aggies to convert just 2-of-16 opportunities on third down – including 0-for-6 in the second half – while holding Texas A&M to only 105 yards passing.
The Aggies improved to 2-7 against LSU since Texas A&M joined the SEC prior to the 2012 season.
LSU (3-4, 3-4 SEC) will play host to top-ranked Alabama next Saturday at 7 p.m. in Tiger Stadium in a game that will be nationally televised by CBS.
Texas A&M (6-1, 6-1 SEC) will play at Auburn next Saturday at a time to be determined.
Texas A&M held the Tigers to 267 yards in total offense, including 36 yards rushing. Field position was a significant factor in the Aggies' defensive effort, as punter Nik Constantinou pinned the Tigers' inside the 20-yard line on six occasions.
The Aggies' offense managed only 267 total yards against the inspired LSU defense, which forced Texas A&M to punt 12 times.
The Aggies' offense was paced by running back Isaiah Spiller, who rushed 27 times for 141 yards and one touchdown. LSU wide receiver Terrace Marshall Jr. caught 10 passes for 134 yards and one TD.
Texas A&M opened the scoring with a field goal at the 9:10 mark of the first quarter, as Seth Small connected on a 41-yard attempt. The Aggies moved 41 yards in seven plays to take the 3-0 lead.
Texas A&M extended the advantage to 10-0 with 16 seconds remaining in the first quarter, when Spiller dashed 52 yards to the end zone, capping a two-play, 54-yard march.
With 9:37 left in the second period, LSU forced Texas A&M quarterback Kellen Mond to fumble on a fourth-and-one at the LSU 5, and the Tigers took over at their own 15-yard line. The fumble was the seventh created by the LSU defense this season.
LSU quarterback TJ Finley then hit wide receiver Terrace Marshall Jr. with a 54-yard pass to the Aggies' 31, before Finley connected with wide receiver Kayshon Boutte on what appeared to be a 31-yard touchdown reception. However, the score was overturned after replay review, and on the next play, a tipped Finley pass was intercepted by Jaylon Jones at the Texas A&M 21.
The Aggies' offense went three-and-out on the ensuing possession, and after a punt, the Tigers drove 29 yards to the Texas A&M 16, but Cade York missed a 34-yard field goal try.
Small nailed a 40-yard field goal on the final play of the first half, capping an eight-play, 44-yard drive and giving the Aggies a 13-0 halftime lead.
The LSU defense allowed the Aggies to convert just two-of-10 third-down attempts in the first half, and the Tigers limited Mond to 8-of-25 passing for 77 yards.
A special teams miscue at the 6:16 mark of the third quarter gave the Aggies great field position when a Texas A&M punt bounced off the leg of an LSU defender and was recovered at the Tigers' 33-yard line. The LSU defense, though, forced another three-and-out and kept the Aggies from capitalizing on the scoring opportunity.
After the Aggies punted, LSU took over on its own eight-yard line, but on the second play of the possession, Texas A&M linebacker Buddy Johnson intercepted a Finley pass and returned it 15 yards for a touchdown, increasing the Tigers' deficit to 20-0 with 4:36 remaining in the third quarter.
LSU got on the scoreboard with 38 seconds remaining in the game when quarterback Max Johnson fired a three-yard scoring pass to Marshall Jr., capping a 14-play, 81-yard march.