Texas A&M defensive coordinator John Chavis didn’t talk a lot this week about how much his return to Baton Rouge meant to him. But his players knew just how important it was for Chavis, who spent the previous six seasons in the same position at LSU.
His boss knew, too.
“It was an emotional game for him,” said Aggies coach Kevin Sumlin after the 19-7 loss. “You can’t spend that much time in any one place and not have feelings. And you can’t spend that much time with people. There is the human element that is involved, too. Certainly, there are a lot of people here in Baton Rouge that he’s is close to and a lot of people at LSU he’s close to.”
That was evident after the game when LSU defensive backs Tre’Davious White and Jalen Mills chased Chavis down and gave him a hug before he exited into the visitors’ locker room.
Chavis was unavailable for comment after the game but earlier in the week talked about his return, saying, “Enjoyed my time there. Most of the people were good to me. A lot of good memories.”
And for a while, it seemed he would perhaps make more pleasant memories.
He chatted with LSU head coach Les Miles before the game, and the two exchanged a friendly fist bump.
A&M held LSU in check for the first 38 minutes, keeping the Tigers out of the end zone until Derrius Guice broke loose for a 50-yard touchdown.
“It was rough,” Texas A&M linebacker Myles Garrett said. “We tried to focus on one guy (Leonard Fournette), and the other tailback gets out there and runs for 50. It’s hard to live with, but you have to just try to get ready to play the next down.”
In the first half, LSU was deep in Aggies’ territory three times and made just two of three field-goal tries, in leading 7-6 at halftime.
“The defense hung in there as long as we could,” Sumlin said.
The Tigers had 156 yards in the first half, mostly from Fournette’s 99 yards rushing. LSU finished with 326 yards.
That was actually a better outing than what the Aggies have been allowing this season.
They entered allowing 370.8 yards per game, which ranked 49th nationally. In A&M’s previous two seasons, the Aggies were ranked 104th and 111th in those two categories.
Chavis and LSU continue to have a dispute off the field.
Chavis and LSU have been in a legal battle for the past nine months since his departure. It all stems from his $400,000 buyout. The next hearing in the case is scheduled for Dec. 14 in the 19th Judicial Court in the East Baton Rouge Parish.
“I just know how bad coach Chavis wanted this,” defensive lineman Julien Obioha said. “I think me and him have a similar outlook. He didn’t really show the defense, but you could tell after the game how bad he wanted it. I feel bad. We didn’t play well enough for him.”