Rivalry week is upon us and No. 1 LSU has a chance to avenge a seven overtime loss to Texas A&M along with finishing the season 12-0 this Saturday in Tiger Stadium.
“Good football team, well-coached football team,” said LSU coach Ed Orgeron at his weekly press luncheon. “They’ve got good players. This is going to be a big challenge for our team, and we have to take the emotions out of last year, focus in on this year. This is a different football team. We’re playing them at home. We’re going to have to play a complete game to win this game.”
Last season’s 7OT thriller is sure to be the talk of the week, but Orgeron hopes the Tigers can keep their emotions in check during a tough matchup.
Orgeron said he believes that the offense — and especially Joe Burrow — grew up and matured a lot that night in College Station.
“I think that the performance of that offense that night and the performance of Joe, I thought was phenomenal, the way he operated and he ran the ball,” Orgeron said. “He gave everything he had. He tried to put the team on his shoulders and win the game, and it just built.”
Though there has been much discussion in recent years about who is LSU’s “true rival,” Orgeron believes that this is as good a rivalry as any.
“I think it’s a rivalry,” Orgeron said. “I’m not an LSU expert to say what’s the best rival, what it is, but our guys — we beat them for a long time and they beat us last year and it hurt. They have a good team. Coach Fisher is a good coach. He’s been here. We all know about it.
“This is competitive. So they have great players. We have great players. They have great coaches. It’s going to be a heck of a game, and it is, yes. We need to beat the other schools.”
Kellen Mond is another quarterback that could cause the LSU defense problems.
Mond is dangerous both on the ground and in the air, totaling 2,710 yards passing and 392 yards rushing on the season.
“He’s dangerous,” Orgeron said. “He’s dangerous. Last year he had a lights-out game against us, running the ball, throwing the ball, big receivers, great scheme. I think this is one of the better players we’re going to see all year.”
On the other hand, the Aggie defense is only giving up 20.18 points per game and 231.9 yards per game.
Linebacker Buddy Johnson leads the Aggies with 67 tackles and adds a sack, while defensive linemen Jayden Peevy and Tyree Johnson have 4.5 sacks a piece.
“They’re a 4-3 scheme,” Orgeron said. “They’re only giving up 20 points a game, 129 rushing, 192 passing. They’ve got an awesome defensive line. Those guys play well. They make plays, got big linebackers that can run. A team with a lot of talent, a well-coached football team. It’s going to be one excellent game at Tiger Stadium.”
After playing on a sore ankle since the Auburn game and missing the Arkansas game, junior safety Grant Delpit will return to the field against Texas A&M. Orgeron said Delpit will be full speed at practice this week and he thinks the rest helped him in the long run.
Orgeron did say he was pleased with the play of freshman Maurice Hampton, who got his first career start on place of Delpit.