Hello Tiger fans! Bad news, it’s the last regular season game for our Tigers. Honestly, I couldn’t be sadder. It seems that every year it’s gone before you know it and then there is that intolerable waiting for months and months. The only thing that could disappoint me more is if we ended the season on a memory that we all want to forget. To wait for eight months and only bad memories to torture you. That is the worst punishment I could ever ask for.
I don’t think this will be easy. LSU has had two fairly easy outings but I hope they haven’t let that drop their guard. Texas A&M may not have had a season to be remembered but they haven’t embarrassed themselves. They held their own as much as LSU did against Alabama (final score: 19-27). That shows us that with a few big plays going their way, a tough SEC west team like Texas A&M can go toe to toe with any team in the nation. Both of us have lost to Alabama and Mississippi State, and if Connor Culp hadn’t nailed those field goals against Auburn we would have shared three losses with A&M. Both of us had an embarrassing, non-conference loss in the beginning of the season. All in all, don’t look down on these Aggies.
Texas A&M has a strong offense with playmakers all over the field. Christian Kirk gave LSU problems last year and I hope Dave Aranda has found a way to contain him this year. Traevyon Williams is your average SEC west running back. Talented, but not quite a superstar. LSU can shut them out if they have an A-day. Their intermediate and short game won’t be a problem for us and if we keep the ball away from Kirk or keep him contained at all times we can have a blowout, guaranteed. In fact, I think we can have them in desperation mode by halftime if we create a few turnovers and a number of sacks to get into quarterback Nick Starkel’s head.
Texas A&M’s defense is solid and can shut down a mediocre offense. They held Alabama to only 27 points which is about the same as LSU. LSU hasn’t been the most explosive on offense but if we run the ball like we did last week and the week before we can get enough points on the board to stay in the game.
We can’t hand a team like Texas A&M a blowout unless we have some success in the passing game, especially on third downs. While our triple-threat running game is as strong as any team’s it will only work so many times. You need the threat of long passes. I think this could go one of two ways. Texas A&M can hold us to 14-21 points because we run the jet sweeps, off-tackle runs, and quarterback keepers good but can’t find the open receiver and make a nice pass and catch for a first down. We can hand Texas A&M a big “L” to end the season by connecting on deep passes, taking advantage of their coverage to find open receivers and get first downs to maintain drives.
Tonight, you will find me in front of my t.v. shouting, “Hot Boudin, Cold Cous Cous, C’mon Tigers Push, Push, Push!” I want to end this season strong. I’m hoping these Tigers give me and the rest of their faithful fans a great memory to help get us through the off-season!
Another great post, Micah. I will miss your weekly highlights after bowl season. Wow, what great way for Etling to cap off his last game in tiger stadium! Also seems fitting that OBJ was in attendance to see the LSU receiver corps shine. LSU should get a good bowl bid with such a strong finish and MSU losing the egg bowl. Despite the east being a bit of mess, glad to see the SEC west silenced all the SEC naysayers. The competition in any other conference or division simply pales in comparison to the SEC west . . . they really should consider moving AU to the east and Missouri to the west to balance things out!
Ironically, LSU’s best bowl offer would probably come from both AU and ALA making it into the CFP, which is a real possibility (would really suck for AU if they have to play ALA twice . . . we know what that is like!). To cap off the irony, I am pretty confident LSU’s loss to Troy started a domino effect that resulted in ALA losing the iron bowl. AU’s drive to convincingly defeat two #1 teams in 3 weeks was fueled by their loss to LSU, and they were playing an ALA defense that was handicapped coming out of the LSU game (still hate to see players on any team injured). Without the physicality paradigm shift that occurred in LSU’s locker room following the Troy loss, I don’t see LSU making a historic comeback that gives AU their rocket fuel for the rest of the season. I also don’t see LSU being more physical than ALA without that Sept shift. Conclusion – in the end, LSU’s loss to Troy was the best thing that happened to LSU and AU (both teams ended up with signature wins in games they were supposed lose). I’ll take the loss to Troy in Sept over a repeat of LSU’s 2015 November landslide, which is the road they were headed down if they squeaked by and beat Troy. Narrow wins simply do not provide the same motivation to improve as uncharacteristic losses.
For the sake of recruiting, let’s hope the iron bowl loss keeps ALA out of the CFP and another NC! LSU simply does not compete with AU or GA for recruits like they compete with ALA; thus, from a recruiting perspective, AU or GA usurping ALA from the CFP is the next best thing to LSU beating ALA. Even if LSU would have upset ALA a few weeks ago, if that loss motivated ALA to win the iron bowl, SEC champ, and NC, ALA glory still blares all over every recruit’s TV screen just before national signing day. Takeaway – since the ACC and SEC champs are most likely CFP bound, pull for Wisconsin and OKU to win their conference championships and keep ALA out of the playoff picture!! That will change tune on TV screens from ALA glory to “this is the first year ALA did not make the CFP since inception”!!