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

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

The Battalion

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A&M defense looks to stomp one last Tiger

Photo by Courtesy of Craig Bisacre/Texas A&M Athletics

The Aggie defense had two sacks and two interceptions.

Texas A&M’s defense will look to cage up one more Tiger as Southeastern Conference play comes to an end. 

On Saturday, Nov. 27, No. 14 Texas A&M will travel to Baton Rouge, La., to face off against the Louisiana State Tigers for the Aggies’ final conference game of the season. This matchup will feature an A&M defense that has been nothing less than impressive this season and an LSU offense that will look to pull out one final win in Death Valley for coach Ed Orgeron, who will be parting ways with the program after this season. 

Regardless of its 5-6 record, LSU’s offense is filled with a deep receiving corps, an experienced running back and a quarterback with the genetics of a Super Bowl champion. 

Sophomore quarterback Max Johnson, son of retired NFL quarterback Brad Johnson, has had an impressive season in the statbook. Johnson is fifth in the SEC in completions this season with 203 and fourth in passing yards with 2,509. 

Johnson has done a significant job at sharing the ball among his receivers, as well. The Tigers have six wide receivers with over 20 receptions, 280 yards and 11 yards per catch this season. Leading the pack is sophomore Kayshon Boutte, who has pulled in 38 receptions for 509 receiving yards and nine touchdowns. 

Junior running back Tyrion Davis-Price has been responsible for most of the carries for LSU this season and the reason why is evident. Davis-Price is sixth in the SEC in rushing yards with 919 and has averaged 83.5 yards in the 11 games he has played in this season. The Tigers have relied upon Davis-Price heavily this season, as he ranks second in the SEC in rushing attempts with at least 17 carries per game. Expect a steady flow of handoffs from LSU come Nov. 27.

As for total offense, the Tigers rank among the worst when looking at their past three SEC matchups. LSU averaged 33 points per game before their matchup against Ole Miss on Oct. 23. In their last three SEC games, LSU averaged 14 points per game, four interceptions and four forced fumbles. As for sacks allowed, they’ve allowed 13 out of the 27 total in the three-game span. 

In the Battle on the Bayou on Saturday, Nov. 20, LSU defeated UL-Monroe 27-14 at home for its first win in three weeks. Johnson threw for 319 yards and two touchdowns, one of which was to freshman wide receiver Malik Nabers, who ran for a season-high 67 yards to give the Tigers an early 17-0 lead midway through the second quarter. Nabers finished the night with four receptions for 143 yards and a touchdown. 

This marked the first time an LSU receiver had a 100 yards in a game since Week 5. Coach Orgeron said the freshman receiver is excellent when it comes to one-on-one situations between him and the cornerback. 

“He can beat a lot of one-on-one coverages,” Orgeron said. “Anytime [UL-Monroe] sent a zero-blitz it opened up one-on-one coverage for Nabers, and he was beating the man every time. He is an excellent receiver.”

In last week’s win, A&M’s defense held Prairie View to only three points through four quarters. The Aggies accumulated four sacks, nine tackles for loss and a forced fumble by sophomore defensive back Antonio Johnson that was then recovered for a touchdown late in the first quarter. Johnson and the rest of the secondary locked down the Panther’s receiving core, only allowing seven passing yards on two completions in the game.

A&M head coach Jimbo Fisher said there will be no change in preparation in the practices before their SEC matchup against LSU. 

“You approach when you get to the game and get it started early,” Fisher said. “You understand the importance of the game, execute in practice and emphasize it as coaches. At the end of the day, however you practice, you still have to take it to the field and hopefully learn the lessons from the past games.”

So far this season, the Aggies are top in the SEC when it comes to defense. They rank third in the SEC in total yards per game allowed with 319.8, second in passing yards per game allowed with 182.4 and second in points allowed with 164. As for turnovers, they are tied for fifth in the SEC in interceptions with 10 and tied for third in the SEC in forced fumbles with five. 

This will mark coach Orgeron’s final game at Tiger Stadium. Antonio Johnson said A&M will treat this game as any SEC matchup and will try to avoid having another slow start like they did against Ole Miss on Nov. 13. 

“We have to come in with a faceless mentality,” Antonio Johnson said. “We know they are going to be hyped up, so we have to come into this week and practice hard, focus on the little details and prepare right.”

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