Da Boot Sports
By: Terrill J. Weil
BATON ROUGE, LA: LSU finishes the season 6-6 to become bowl eligible after beating #15 Texas A&M on Saturday night in Death Valley. Max Johnson came through in the clutch throwing a 28 yard touchdown pass to Jaray Jenkins with 20 seconds left to pull out an exciting 27-24 upset victory.
The huge win ended up being Ed Orgeron's final game as head coach of the LSU Tigers, as he announced in his post game press conference that he will not coach the team in their bowl game. Offensive line coach Brad Davis will handle that duty as the team's interim head coach.
LSU's defense continued to play at a high level as they did a great job against the Texas A&M offense holding them to 296 total yards, allowing only 54 yards on the ground. They put good pressure on Zach Calzada throughout the game, sacking him four times, and totaled nine TFL. Senior and team leader Damone Clark led the team with 10 tackles, 2.5 sacks, and 3.5 TFL
Offensively, the Tigers made the big plays when it counted. Max Johnson who was sacked six times and under tremendous pressure most of the night, finished 22-38 for 306 yards, and 3 touchdowns. Ty Davis-Price had several huge runs to finish with 84 yards on 19 carries. Jaray Jenkins had a great game with 8 catches for 169 yards and 2 touchdown grabs. The offensive line struggled to protect Max Johnson most of the night, but they were fantastic on the final drive of the game, giving Johnson the time needed to make the big throws to pull out the exciting win.
The Tigers took the opening kickoff and would drive 44 yards in 13 plays before Texas A&M shut down the drive at the 31 yard line setting up a Cade York 50 yard field goal to give LSU a 3-0 lead with 8:38 left in the first quarter.
On the second play of the second quarter, the Tigers struck again to increase their lead to 10-0 on a 45 yard touchdown pass from Max Johnson to Jaray Jenkins. Johnson hit Jenkins in stride down the far sidelines for the score with 14:12 left in the first half.
The Aggies finally put a drive together, as they would go 73 yards in seven plays to score on a 13 yard touchdown pass from Zach Calzada to Moose Muhammad, cutting the LSU lead to 10-7.
LSU would extended their lead right before the half. Facing 2nd and nine from their own 39 yard line, Max Johnson completed
a quick pass in the right flat to Trey Palmer, who followed a couple of great blocks and then out race the A&M defense down the near sidelines for a 61 yard touchdown. Cade York's PAT put the Tigers up 17-7 at halftime.
Texas A&M would cut into LSU's lead halfway through the 3rd quarter with a 33 yard field goal by Seth Small, pulling to
within 17-10. The Aggies drove 63 yards in ten plays before the LSU defense stiffened to stop the drive at the 16 yard line forcing the Aggies to settle for three.
Two possessions later LSU got the three points back as Cade York would hit a 47 yard field goal, putting LSU up 20-10 with 2:29 left in the 3rd quarter. The highlight of the drive was a 29 yard burst by Ty Davis-Price on 1st and ten from the Tigers' 28 to move into A&M territory.
The Aggies responded on their next possession which took us into the 4th quarter, driving 75 yards in seven plays, as Zach Calzada would complete a 15 yard touchdown pass to Jalen Preston to pull within three, 20-17 with 14:22 left in the game.
Seven minutes later Texas A&M grabbed their first lead of the contest. Starting their drive at the LSU 45 yard line after a nice punt return, the Aggies traveled the 45 yards in six plays, scoring when Calzada would scramble to his left to avoid a heavy LSU rush, completing a pass to Preston, who weaved his way through the Tigers' secondary and into the end zone for a 32 yard touchdown. 24-20 A&M with 7:33 left in the game.
Things didn't look good for the Tigers late in the game, trailing 24-20 while starting the final drive from their own 15 yard line with only 1:58 left in the game. The first big play of the drive came when LSU faced a 4th and six at their own 19 yard line. Max Johnson would find a wide open Jack Bech in the middle of the field for an 11 yard gain and a huge 1st down to keep the drive alive. On the very next play Johnson would find Jaray Jenkins for a 31 yard completion to the A&M 40 yard line. Then Johnson hit Malik Nabors for an 11 yard gain to the Aggies 28 yard line on the next play. After two incomplete passes, LSU faced 3rd and ten with 27 seconds remaining. Johnson dropped back to throw and threw a perfect pass to Jaray Jenkins in stride down the far sidelines. Jenkins made a spectacular catch right before crossing the goal line for the score. Cade York kicked the PAT to put LSU up 27-24 with only 20 seconds left on the clock.
The Tiger defense stood tall, sacking Calzada on back-to-back plays to end the ball game.
Photos Below By: Michael Bacigalupi
Photos Below By: Jonathan Mailhes