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

The Battalion

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

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Players to watch: LSU

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Photo by Ishika Samant

Graduate WR Ainais Smith (0) waves as he walks off the field during Texas A&M’s game against ACU on Saturday, Nov. 18, 2023 at Kyle Field. (Ishika Samant/The Battalion)

After the first win in the post-Jimbo Fisher era, the Texas A&M Aggies now face one of their most heated SEC rivals, the No. 14 LSU Tigers. Here are the players to watch when A&M goes to the Bayou to take on LSU at Tiger Stadium on Saturday, Nov. 25, at 11 a.m.
Ainias Smith, Texas A&M wide receiver
In what might be SubZero’s final game in Maroon and White, he surely will be looking to leave his mark in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Smith not only leads the Aggies in total receptions, but also receiving yards, receptions per game and yards per reception.
While he has yet to declare for the 2024 NFL Draft and has one year of remaining eligibility, many are assuming this is Smith’s last season as an Aggie. Smith said he is also unsure if he will compete in A&M’s bowl game this postseason.
Smith has been the only constant threat in the Aggies’ offense through an injury-riddled season for the Fightin’ Farmers. If A&M wants to walk through Bourbon Street with a victory to boast, then finding Smith early and often will be vital. SubZero needs to run rampant to end the Tigers’ season on a sour note.
Jayden Daniels, LSU quarterback
Daniels is second in Heisman odds according to BetMGM. At +140, he sits just behind No. 6 Oregon’s senior quarterback Bo Nix, who’s the front runner at +110. Daniels is making quite the case for himself, though, as he leads an underperforming LSU squad in both passing and rushing yards.
With 36 touchdowns this season, Daniels has been lighting up opposing teams’ defenses. If he wants to do the same to the Aggies’ Wrecking Crew, he will need to make sure to stay poised and avoid A&M’s consistent pass rush.
Daniels is not only looking to show out for Heisman voters but also NFL scouts. This big-time game could silence all the doubters and it would also give Daniels his final win in becoming an SEC West grand-slam champion, as the Aggies are the only divisional opponent he has yet to defeat while repping the Purple and Gold.
Edgerrin Cooper, A&M linebacker
The junior linebacker has captained this year’s formidable defense. He leads the Fightin’ Farmers’ defense in 75 total tackles, seven sacks and is tied for a team-high two fumbles.
Cooper has been all over the field for the Maroon and White’s defense, making defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin’s job much easier. This LSU offense will be a test for him as the Tigers have been putting even the most resilient defenses in torture chambers this season.
A good game from Cooper will certainly increase the likelihood of a win for the visiting Aggies. If he can maintain his solid tackle numbers and add to his sack total, the defense might be able to repeat last season’s success when they defeated the then-No. 6 Tigers, 38-23.
Harold Perkins Jr, LSU linebacker
The Cypress native and one-time A&M commit is having quite the sophomore campaign despite an underwhelming LSU defense. The Tigers usually boast quite the stingy and physical defense, but this year has been less than ideal for the Bayou Bengals.
Perkins leads the Tigers in sacks with five and has had great success rushing the passer this year. He also holds 61 total tackles and a team-high three forced fumbles to his name. Perkins has been feasting all season and now has his eyes set on a reinvigorated Aggie offense led by sophomore quarterback Jaylen Henderson.
If the Aggies let Perkins wreak havoc, it is hard to imagine they can have much success on offense. The Fightin’ Farmers will live to regret not making Perkins an offensive focus when they come into Tiger Stadium, as he holds the key to making LSU’s defense one to remember.

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Matthew Seaver
Matthew Seaver, Sports Reporter
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