There’s no doubt that the LSU Tigers are in the midst of an epic collapse. It won’t get any easier either when Texas A&M rolls into town Saturday night.

The Aggies, with former LSU defensive coordinator John Chavis now coaching on their sideline, come into the game with some momentum after shutting out Vanderbilt, 25-0. The saga of his less-than-amicable departure provides added drama to the backdrop of this long rivalry.

There are strong indications this will be the last game Les Miles coaches for LSU in Tiger Stadium. The Tigers (7-3, 4-3 in  the SEC) are in the midst of a monumental three-game slide. Conversely, the Aggies (8-3, 4-3 in the SEC) are looking to finish strong and better position themselves for a quality bowl game.

LSU leads the all-time series with Texas A&M, 30-20-3, including a decisive 23-10-1 advantage in Tiger Stadium. They first played in 1899 and had many nonconference battles through the years. LSU has won all three meetings since Texas A&M joined the SEC.

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The Aggies look to end that streak despite being a 5½-point underdog. They haven’t won in Baton Rouge since an 18-13 victory in 1994. However, a win on Saturday would give coach Kevin Sumlin three nine-win seasons in his four years at College Station. The Aggies are 17-5 away from home and 20-6 in night games under Sumlin.

The Aggies have gone back and forth at quarterback this season. Sophomore Kyle Allen started the first seven games before running into Ole Miss and Alabama on consecutive weeks and yielding the position to freshman Kyler Murray. But three games later, Allen appears to have wrestled back his starting role. He threw for 336 yards and a touchdown, completing 18 of 36 passes without an interception last week at Vanderbilt.

On the other side of the football, DE Myles Garrett and Daeshon Hall combine for one of the most disruptive duos in college football. Garrett leads the SEC with 10.5 sacks and five forced fumbles while Hall has recorded 12.5 tackles for loss, including 7.0 sacks.

How the Tigers are able to handle the two off the edge will go a long way in determining whether or not they stop the program’s longest losing streak this century.


Best offensive player, RB Tra Carson — The senior leader needs 10 yards more to break 1,000 for the season. He would be the first Aggies running back to reach that plateau since 2011. If the last few games are any indication, he’ll get those yards easily. Carson has rushed for 100-plus yards in each of the last four games. He needs exactly 100 yards to reach 2,000 for his career. While LSU will focus on holding down an explosive passing attack, Carson will play a key factor in keeping the Tigers honest on defense.

Best defensive player, DE Myles Garrett — The sophomore has been a force on the defensive line for the Aggies. The finalist for the Lombardi Award needs one more forced fumble to match the school record of six. In addition to leading the SEC in sacks (10.5) and forced fumbles (5), this season Garrett has already piled up 17 tackles for loss, blocked a punt, and intercepted a pass. How LSU will slow down the 6-5, 202-pounder is anybody’s guess, but it must be priority No. 1 if the Tigers have any chance at moving the football with any consistency on Saturday.

Best special teams player, PK Taylor Bertolet — The senior booted six field goals last Saturday in the win over Vanderbilt, tying both school and conference records while falling one shy of the NCAA FBS mark. His field-goal flurry also elevated him into a tie for the nation’s lead for makes (22) as well as attempts (29). His 19 total points scored on the Commodores pushed his season total to 100. He is the first placekicker at Texas A&M to score multiple 100-point seasons. As well as the Aggies have been moving the football recently, he should have opportunities on Saturday to add to his record-setting totals.