As the game got underway, it seemed a dark cloud hovered over LSU’s sideline. A much publicized coaching search was reaching its fever pitch, as rumors flew all over the internet regarding who had or hadn’t accepted the job. Furthermore, four of LSU’s best players would not suit up for the game. This did not bode well.
Well, the coaching search rumors did not subside once the ball kicked off. Hell, LSU even issued a statement regarding the coaching search during the damn game, essentially to say no comment. Mark May, everyone’s favorite analyst, ripped the school for publicly undercutting the current coach.
But the game itself? Record-breaking.
Derrius Guice got things going early with a 45-yard touchdown run on the opening drive. He wouldn’t slow down, ending the game with a school record 285 yards on 37 carries and 4 touchdowns. We will miss Fournette, but the running game is going to be fine without him next season. Leonard Fournette held the LSU single-game rushing record for less than a month.
Then, the recent bugaboo of red zone offense again bedeviled the Tigers in the first half. LSU would make two trips to the red zone and settle for field goals both times. The red zone offense didn’t struggle as much as it did against Florida, as it wasn’t squandering goal-to-go situations again, but it was frustrating.
Despite dominating the stat sheet, LSU held on to a narrow 13-7 lead. With a little under two minutes in the half, Danny Etling failed to convert 3rd and 1, forcing LSU to punt from midfield. With A&M due to get the ball first in the second half, it seemed LSU was going to fall mercy to Poseur’s Law again.
Then, everything changed on one play. Devin White forced a fumble and recovered it, at first for an apparent touchdown. LSU took over possession and two plays later, Etling connected with Malachi Dupre for a touchdown and a 20-7 lead. And the rout was on.
LSU blew things open in the third quarter, and the Aggies had no answers for the LSU attack. The LSU defense similarly responded and repeatedly shut down Aggie threats, even managing to force a turnover on downs, which seemed to serve as the Aggies last gasp.
Actually, to give A&M credit, they kept swinging. They kept making big plays in the fourth quarter and never threw in the towel. They didn’t come back, but they can walk out of the stadium with their heads held high. They didn’t back down and kept going for the win right up to the end. Literally.
Danny Etling finished the night 20 for 28 and 324 yards, hooking up with eight different receivers. A quarterback, any quarterback, throwing for 300+ yards feels like a minor miracle. The offense was flat out humming. This was a total team win, and just about as good of a game as the offense could have. The defense, however, allowed a little too much in the fourth quarter.
Of course, this forced the offense to keep scoring. LSU cleared a half century on the scoreboard and over 600 yards of total offense. A&M kept throwing haymakers, so LSU had to throw one back. By the end of the night, we saw the sort of offensive explosion we’re not really accustomed to.
A lot of the young guys stepped up with the veterans sitting on the bench. Russell Gage made an insane touchdown catch, and Dee Anderson showed flashes that he could step into a larger role next season at receiver. Devin White, as mentioned before, made perhaps the play of the game. LSU loses a lot in the offseason, but tonight was a reminder that the future is still bright.
No matter who is the coach.