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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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5 takeaways from A&M’s 27-24 loss versus LSU

Photo by Robert O’Brien

Graduate student DL Micheal Clemons (2) sacks LSU quarterback Max Johnson (14) at Tiger Stadium on Saturday, Nov. 26, 2021.

Texas A&M football fell short in the final seconds to Louisiana State 27-24 on Saturday, Nov. 27 to bring its final regular season record to 8-4 and bring the Tigers record to 6-6. 

Here are five takeaways from the Aggies’ loss:

Slow start … again

A&M is now 1-4 in games where its opponent scores the opening touchdown or field goal.

In the first half, the Aggies struggled to get going on the offensive or defensive sides of the ball. Offensively, they rushed for a total of 18 yards on 10 attempts and had to rely heavily on the pass game. 

Defensively, A&M gave up two major plays that accounted for over half of its 173 passing yards allowed in the first half. The first play came on a 45-yard reception by LSU junior wide receiver Jaray Jenkins that came from sophomore quarterback Max Johnson. For the second, Johnson connected with junior wide receiver Trey Palmer on a screen pass that resulted in a 61-yard touchdown. 

A&M coach Jimbo Fisher said he was disappointed in his defense’s inability to wrap up in the first half.

“We missed some key tackles early in the game,” Fisher said. “In today’s game, being able to make open field tackles is important and we struggled with that throughout the game.”

Sacks galore

Despite not reaching the quarterback since Oct. 9, fifth-year defensive end Micheal Clemons came up with 3.5 sacks against LSU.

Clemons and junior defensive end DeMarvin Leal tag-teamed Max Johnson for A&M’s first sack of the night. Sacks became contagious for the Aggies after junior safety Demani Richardson picked up his first of the night, just one play after Clemons’ third. This allowed A&M to pick up its first lead of the game on the following drive. 

Dynamic duo

A&M has found a new dynamic duo in its wide receiving corps with junior Jalen Preston and freshman Moose Muhammad III, as both came up huge in several clutch situations.

Preston and Muhammad had a combined 109 yards, five catches and three touchdowns in the 27-24 loss to the Tigers. Preston picked up his first two touchdowns of his career in this game alone, while Muhammad added one more touchdown to the three he already put up in 2021. 

As a whole, the maroon and white receiving corps had four drops against LSU which, in the final game of the season, is unacceptable, Fisher said. 

“We made some really good plays,” Fisher said. “Just had too many drops in key situations. Just got to focus and put your nose on the ball.”

Ol’ reliable

Nothing seemed to go A&M’s way until the ball ended up in one man’s hands.

Sophomore running back Devon Achane led the team in both receiving and rushing yards with 72 and 49, respectively. 

Down 20-10 late in the third quarter, Achane ran three-straight plays for 46 yards, then connected on a pass from sophomore quarterback Zach Calzada on the next for 16 yards. This drive ended with a touchdown from Preston, leaving Achane empty-handed.

There is still time left

After a sack from Leal and senior defensive end Tyree Johnson, the Aggies got the ball back with nothing left to do but chew the clock to secure the victory on the road. 

In the subsequent drive, A&M went three-and-out and was only able to run two minutes off the game clock. The Tigers got the ball back in with a minute and 58 seconds left and a chance to make LSU coach Ed Orgeron’s last game in Baton Rouge, La., one to remember. 

LSU drove down the field, and, with 30 seconds on the clock, Johnson connected with Jenkins on a 28-yard touchdown pass to steal the game from the Aggies and make the Tigers bowl-eligible.

Orgeron said he had a good feeling about the final drive of the game that sent the Aggies back on the bus to College Station.

“We had done so many two-minute drills over the course of the year that our guys were prepared,” Orgeron said. “We kept on making play after play after play and kept on fighting. I just felt like something good was going to happen.”

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