Texas A&M Falls to LSU

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The Texas A&M Aggies lost to the LSU Tigers 24-27 on Saturday night. Texas A&M finishes the season with an 8-4 record, and the Aggies will likely fall out of the top 25 before their bowl game. This year has been tough for Texas A&M, especially on the road with a backup quarterback. While there is a lot to learn from this season, Jimbo Fisher can be more confident in his young stars heading into the next season. However, there was not a lot of production from those stars in Death Valley against the Tigers. Here’s a quarter-by-quarter analysis of Texas A&M’s loss to LSU.

Quarter 1: LSU Starts Out On Top

Offense

Texas A&M’s first drive started midway through the first quarter. Zach Calzada had a nice throw to Devon Achane for a first down. Isaiah Spiller got the Aggies in a third-and-short situation near midfield, but an incompletion by Calzada on third down forced Texas A&M to punt.

The Aggies’ second drive was also stagnant, and it was held back due to a run for a loss by Spiller. Texas A&M’s offense didn’t get much going in the first quarter.  

Defense

LSU started off with the ball in this game. The Tigers’ first drive featured quite a bit of running back Tyrion Davis-Price, and he guided LSU past midfield. Max Johnson looked pretty impressive on this drive, especially considering the struggles he had throwing the ball in previous games. Texas A&M’s defense stopped LSU’s offense on third down, and the Tigers had to settle for a field goal. 

LSU’s second drive was more of the same as the first drive, and a big play from Johnson to Jaray Jenkins got the Tigers back into Texas A&M’s territory. However, offensive coordinator Jake Peetz chose to throw the ball on three consecutive plays. This was unsuccessful for LSU, and the Tigers had to punt.

Texas A&M entered the second quarter down 0-3 to LSU.

Quarter 2: Texas A&M Battles Back

Offense

On Texas A&M’s third drive, Calzada started to throw the ball more. Ainias Smith and Jalen Wydermyer had their first receptions in the second quarter, and Texas A&M was driving down the field. Calzada was then sacked by Damone Clark, LSU’s leading tackler, leading the Aggies to punt yet again.

Spiller had a good rush for a first down to start the Aggies’ fourth drive. Achane caught a pass for nearly 25 yards and Wydermyer got another one for 15 yards to get Texas A&M in the red zone. LSU’s defense chose to go cover zero in the red zone, and Calzada connected with Moose Muhammad III for the Aggies’ first touchdown of the game.

The Aggies’ fifth drive was a quick three-and-out due to a sack by Jaquelin Roy on second down. For most of the first half, Texas A&M’s offensive play was rather inconsistent.

Defense

A defensive offsides penalty kept LSU’s third drive alive near midfield. Johnson made Texas A&M’s defense pay by following up with a 45-yard pass to Jenkins for the Tigers’ first touchdown.

The Tigers started their fourth drive backed up near their end zone. Jenkins was Johnson’s primary target throughout the game, and Jenkins got LSU one first down on this drive. Johnson threw two consecutive incompletions, resulting in LSU having to punt the ball.

Malik Nabers got his first reception on LSU’s fifth drive. He had a couple of drops in this game, but he has high potential as a receiver for LSU. Johnson missed a throw to Jenkins on third down, and the Tigers punted again. 

The Tigers’ sixth drive was quick as Jenkins caught the ball on a screen pass and took it for a touchdown; it helps LSU to have an assortment of skill players on the outside.

Texas A&M went into halftime down 7-17 against LSU.

Quarter 3: LSU Maintains Control

Offense

Texas A&M’s sixth drive was another three-and-out, with Calzada throwing on all three downs. That’s never a good recipe on offense for the Aggies.

The Aggies’ seventh drive was quite long, and Calzada had another big play with Muhammad for 40 yards. However, Texas A&M’s offense stalled in the red zone as LSU’s defense shut down Spiller. After being forced into third-and-long, Texas A&M had to settle for a field goal. 

Calzada threw on all three plays on Texas A&M’s eighth drive, much like the sixth drive; the result was the same. Jimbo Fisher never fully trusted his running backs in this game. 

Achane got the majority of action during the Aggies’ ninth drive. He had almost 50 rushing yards and 20 receiving yards alone on this drive. Jalen Preston caught a 15-yard pass from Calzada to put the Aggies in a one-possession game. 

Defense

Jenkins had a big play for 15 yards to begin LSU’s seventh drive. An incompletion on the third down led LSU to punt on its first drive of the second half. Texas A&M’s defense really took the momentum from this point forward.

The Tigers’ eighth drive was another three-and-out, thanks to a joint sack by DeMarvin Leal and Micheal Clemons on third down. Texas A&M’s defensive front really imposed its will on the line of scrimmage in the second half.

LSU managed to get the ball near the Aggies’ red zone on the Tigers’ ninth drive. Davis-Price had a big run for 20 yards, and Jenkins had another catch for a first down on this drive. In this game, Jenkins definitely hid some deficiencies on LSU’s offense with big yards after the catch. Johnson threw another inaccurate pass intended for Jack Bech on third down, so LSU had to settle for a field goal. 

Texas A&M headed into the fourth quarter down 17-20 to LSU.

Quarter 4: Texas A&M Makes A Comeback?

Offense

Texas A&M’s 10th drive was another three-and-out as Calzada threw three incomplete passes on this drive. That’s three times in this game.

The Aggies’ 11th drive was led by young playmaker Preston. He had two receptions for over 40 yards, and he caught a touchdown pass from Calzada to give Texas A&M its first lead of the game. 

Texas A&M’s final drive started inside the Aggies’ own 10-yard line. Spiller started with a nice gain for eight yards, but Fisher chose to throw on third-and-short, and the Aggies’ offense failed to convert. Texas A&M had to punt the ball back to LSU in a one-score game with two minutes remaining.

Defense

Davis-Price started off LSU’s 10th drive with a run for a first down. Johnson was sacked by Clemons yet again, putting the Tigers in a third-and-long situation. Nabers dropped another pass to lead to fourth down.

The Tigers’ 11th drive was a three-and-out, and Texas A&M’s defense got two consecutive sacks on second down and third down to push LSU back inside its 20-yard line. LSU’s offense was basically nonexistent in the second half. 

LSU finally got the ball near midfield on its 12th drive thanks to two decent rushes by Davis-Price and a first down catch by Nabers. Nonetheless, Texas A&M’s defensive line got its sixth sack of the game to end the drive. 

LSU began its final drive inside the 20-yard line, and the Tigers were in need of a score with two minutes left. A sack by Clemons on second down slimmed-down LSU’s chances of winning the game, but Johnson made some big-time throws to Bech and Nabers to lead the Tigers into the Aggies’ territory. Jenkins ended the game with a 30-yard catch on a fade route from Johnson to put LSU up by 3.

Texas A&M lost 24-27 to LSU on a last-minute game-winning touchdown. 

Concluding Thoughts

Texas A&M had a promising outlook for the season at the beginning of the year, but the injury of Haynes King really hurt the Aggies’ chances. Now, Texas A&M will enter December at 8-4, winning fewer games than last season while playing more games. The Aggies have not beat the Tigers in Baton Rouge since 2000, and LSU sends Ed Orgeron out on top.