Texas A&M falls in hard-hitting affair, 24-19

By James Sullivan

Texas A&M falls in hard-hitting affair, 24-19

It wasn’t a lack of effort or shortage of talent; there was no major coaching malfunction or grand refereeing mistake. At the end of the day, however, No. 6 LSU edged the high-octane No. 18 Aggies, 24-19.

Despite the fact that LSU left Kyle Field boasting another victory, the Aggies showed they owned the means to defeat the Tigers, a fact not missed by senior wide receiver Uzoma Nwachukwu.

“I think we’re very close,” Nwachukwu said. “We have a great defense and offensively, the sky is the limit for us. We just have to focus down on the little things that make great things: turnovers, penalties and things like that. We have to harp on that and if we want to get to elite status, that’s what we have to do.”

Averaging 43 points per game on the season, the A&M offense was out of sync against the smothering Tiger defense. Scoring 12 straight to kick off the game, the Aggies were unable to add more until late in the fourth quarter.

Heisman candidate and redshirt freshman quarterback Johnny Manziel was plagued by three interceptions and accounted for zero touchdowns, a first for his career. Junior running back Ben Malena also fumbled a crucial game-changer late in the first half, allowing LSU to take their initial lead.

“This one hurts a lot,” senior center Patrick Lewis said. “I know a lot of those guys on that team and it would have been real nice to get a win, not only for myself but for our team and for Kyle Field. It’s a win that Texas A&M has needed for a real long time.”

Missed opportunities were a consistent problem on the Aggies’ side of the ball. Redshirt freshman kicker Taylor Bertolet went 2-for-4 on field goals with a missed extra point, including a 33-yard attempt following freshman Trey Williams’ kickoff return to inside the Tiger red zone.

Furthermore, a costly chop-block penalty negated a 34-yard Ben Malena touchdown reception in the first quarter, forcing the Aggies to settle for a short field goal instead.

“We left some points out there, obviously, with a couple missed field goals,” head coach Kevin Sumlin said following the loss. “Against a team like that, you want to score touchdowns in the red zone. They’re a talented football team. You have to give LSU credit.”

The Texas A&M defense, on the other hand, was able to contain a strong Tiger rushing attack for a majority of the matchup while also consistently putting pressure on quarterback Zach Mettenberger.

Outside of a 29-yard endzone catch by Kadron Boone and a 47-yard Jeremy Hill game-clinching touchdown run, the LSU offense was relatively quiet. Considering the field position garnered by the five A&M turnovers, holding the Tigers to 24 points was a success.

“They had a tremendously talented offense,” junior defensive end Damontre Moore said. “They just came up and made [big] plays. They capitalized on our misfortune.”

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