Report Card: Texas A&M gets all Cs after fizzling against LSU
In 2015, LSU’s defense should perform as a vintage John Chavis unit. The Tigers are close to that level right now despite youth, as physically gifted as any group in the SEC. Texas A&M was able to generate plays of 41, 42 and 27 yards, two of those for touchdowns (Trey Williams and Speedy Noil). Still, for a group that seemed to breeze to 500 total yards early in the year, and considering the dead weight of the defense, 228 total yards in at home doesn’t cut it.
Though he thought he had a free play, Kyle Allen’s interception late in the fourth quarter was in the least a poor attempt at the lottery. And LSU was able to put pressure on Allen at key points, especially early.
I thought given the strength of LSU’s defensive backs A&M needed to find a way to run the ball. Williams exploded for the 41-yard touchdown run early in the first quarter, and the Aggies handed to him just three times the rest of the game — for another 21 yards. Why didn’t he get the ball more?
LSU is a very good running team, but 2014 Anthony Jennings is one of the worst starting quarterbacks of the Les Miles era. The Tigers attempted five field goals, and missed two, otherwise this game could’ve been out of reach by the fourth quarter.
Jennings, with a previous career high of 43 rushing yards, looked Michael Vick fast at times against the Aggies en route to 119 rushing yards. Leonard Fournette turned out one of his better performances of the season to finish with 146 yards and the punctuation mark on offense. LSU ran for 384 yards on 6.7 yards per carry against Texas A&M. In other news, boiling water is still hot.
LSU ran right at Myles Garrett, and the SEC’s best-ever freshman pass rusher got bullied.
De’Vante Harris did intercept a pass. And Texas A&M’s defense found the reserves to make some big stops late despite facing 78 offensive snaps.
SPECIAL TEAMS: C+
Josh Lambo and Drew Kaser remain solid kickers. Speedy Noil’s fumble on a kick return late in the first half was a disaster and led to a Tigers field goal. Harris missed a clear opportunity to block the field goal that put LSU up 23-17. And the two teams played to a wash in kick coverage and kick returns.
Credit the coaching staff for keeping the team emotionally engaged not only in this game, but in the season after such a dizzying tumble. But it seemed like LSU’s offense found easy ways on film to exploit the Aggies defense (how many jet sweeps did the Tigers employ?). Sure, Texas A&M’s personnel is a big part of the issue, but the Aggies can’t present that easy of a target, and defensive coordinator Mark Snyder must go.
When Texas A&M made a game of it in the fourth quarter — at home against a four-loss team — it felt surprising. That means something, right?
The sky isn’t falling in College Station, no matter how it feels. Before the season, 7-5 would’ve been a slight disappointment, but 8-4 probably would’ve equaled expectations. But the team’s freefall from 5-0 and No. 6 in the country to a few plays from seven consecutive losses. (Louisiana-Monroe came within 40 yards of a go-ahead touchdown in the fourth quarter and Auburn lost two red zone fumbles to preserve an Aggies win.) The defense remains in shambles and the once-intimidating offense looks average. It should be a salty offseason for A&M.