After all the turmoil, rumors and innuendo of the preceding weeks, Les Miles will remain the LSU head coach. That’s the word from athletic director Joe Alleva and the headline after LSU’s 19-7 win over Texas A&M.

Alleva said the fate of the Tigers’ 11-year veteran head coach wasn’t riding on Saturday’s outcome, but for the first time in a month, LSU played like it was. Buoyed by a loud and supportive crowd, the Tigers played with a gusto unseen since the deflating loss to Alabama on Nov. 7. The result was a vintage LSU performance, sound in the running game and smothering on defense, even if sometimes lacking in style points.


  • Les Miles is safe, but changes could be coming: Miles bristled at the notion that a drastic overhaul of the offense was needed, but conceded that personnel changes could be forthcoming. Offensive coordinator Cam Cameron is perhaps the most obvious fall guy. The Tigers’ imbalance on offense was exploited down the stretch this season, and the team’s unwillingness or inability to adapt is widely viewed as LSU’s primary area of concern.
  • Brandon Harris is far from a finished product: In fact, the sophomore seems to have regressed. After a sterling performance against Florida, Harris struggled down the stretch, and his inaccuracy and inconsistency is an ongoing problem for the LSU offense. He finished Saturday just 7 of 21 passing for 83 yards and one interception, with four of his completions going to Leonard Fournette.
  • Fournette is practically the entire offense: Fortunately, the Tigers sophomore is uniquely talented, because without him, LSU could be limping into a bowl game with a four-game losing streak. Fournette got some help in the form of a 50-yard touchdown run by gifted freshman Derrius Guice on an end around, but still finished Saturday accounting for more than 60 percent of LSU’s yardage. On the game-clinching touchdown drive, he touched the ball on eight of the 13 plays and accounted for 62 of the 80 yards, including a crucial 17-yard reception on third-and-11, and a 4-yard touchdown run.
  • The Tigers do have other weapons, though: Not that that’s ever been in doubt, but the problem has been finding ways to incorporate a talented but inconsistent receiving corps as well as a deep stable of running backs. Cameron deserves some measure of credit for finding ways to get the ball in Guice’s hands Saturday. As Guice showed on his touchdown run — not to mention with a stunning display of power on a long kickoff return — he has the ability to make big plays any time the ball is in his hands.
  • The Tigers aren’t suddenly devoid of defensive talent: While the offensive struggles of recent weeks could be traced to an unreliable passing game and injuries that hampered LSU’s ability to run, the Tigers’ defensive troubles against Alabama, Arkansas and Ole Miss were more mysterious. It might be erroneously dismissive of some underlying problem to chalk those problems up to a lack of intensity, but given LSU’s performance against the Aggies, it might also be 100 percent accurate. The defense that looked listless in the three straight losses played with renewed vigor on Saturday night, and as a result, tackles were surer, hits were harder and turnovers came around more frequently. Watching the Tigers harass Texas A&M quarterback Kyle Allen, blanket Aggies receivers, and swarm ballcarriers, it was clear this defense still has the capability to be nasty when it is dialed in.


Offense: (C) — The passing game was abysmal. We don’t mean to harp on this point, but it simply can’t be overstated how damaging Harris’ misfires were to the offense’s rhythm. Thankfully, the running game provided enough punch to secure the win. It wasn’t the Tigers’ most punishing performance on the ground, but they earned bonus points for methodically marching down the field on a 13-play, 80-yard fourth-quarter drive.

Defense: (A) — This was the defense the Tigers have been missing in recent weeks. They bottled up the Texas A&M running game, registered four sacks and five hurries and never let the Aggies move the ball consistently.

Special Teams: (D) — The Tigers finally solved their kick coverage issues, only to see once-automatic Trent Domingue miss three of his five field goal attempts.

Coaching: (B) — It wasn’t perfect. For instance, the Tigers drew a flag for having 12 men on the field in a critical situation in the fourth quarter when the game still hung in the balance. But LSU not only played with a sense of urgency last seen in October, it also played a cleaner game. The Tigers still drew eight penalties — far from ideal — but the lack of focus and attention to detail that seemed to haunt the team post-Bama wasn’t visible Saturday night.

Overall: (B) — There are aspects of the win that can be criticized, but this looked like a different team from the one that’s taken the field recently. The problems detailed above obviously weren’t solved in the last seven days, but this was the kind of effort Tigers fans should be able to live with.


It wasn’t dramatically different than anything we’ve seen before, but the Tigers had the right plan against a Texas A&M team that struggles to defend the run. It appeared LSU would have preferred to play with greater balance — if for no other reason than to force the Aggies to stay honest — but with the passing game faltering, LSU got the success it needed by feeding Fournette and mixing in just enough Guice.


  • Leonard Fournette: He broke Charles Alexander’s 38-year-old school record for rushing yards in a single season and is now at 1,741 yards through 11 games. He finished Saturday with 159 yards and a touchdown on 32 carries, and also led the team with four catches for 43 yards. .
  • Deion Jones: Jones finished with double-digit tackles (11) for the second straight game and the fourth time this season. Against the Aggies, he added 1.5 tackles for loss, two pass breakups, one hurry and half of a sack.
  • Arden Key: The freshman defensive end has grown increasingly effective and had one of his best games Saturday. He had a season-high eight tackles to go along with 1.5 sacks and three hurries.
  • Frank Herron: A reserve defensive tackle, Herron forced his way into more playing time against Texas A&M and was disruptive force throughout, finishing with eight tackles and one quarterback hurry.
  • Derrius Guice: The freshman runs with the ferocity of a rabid animal. Throwing off defenders with angry stiff arms, he was one kicker away from a marquee spot on every highlight reel, breaking seven tackles on a long third-quarter kickoff return before being forced out of bounds. Though the possession ended with a missed field goal, Guice gave the Tigers a shot of momentum. More importantly, he gave them the lead a little later when he broke free on 50-yard touchdown run that showed his considerable speed and elusiveness.


  • LT Jerald Hawkins returned from an ankle injury and started at left tackle..
  • RB Nick Brosette (knee) did not dress out.
  • WR Travin Dural (hamstring) did not dress out.
  • FB John David Moore (leg) did not dress out.
  • TE Dillon Gordon (Achilles) did not dress out.