COLLEGE STATION, Texas — The locker rooms following LSU’s 23-17 win over Texas A&M on Thursday night most accurately told the story of A&M’s final offensive play.
LSU coach Les Miles seemed to miss freshman defensive lineman Sione Teuhema jumping early on the snap.
“Someone was asking me about the final play,” Miles said. “To me, it was an interception. What was the significance of it? What did I miss?”
At first glance, Teuhema’s helmet appeared to cross into the neutral zone, which typically would draw a flag for offside. But no yellow laundry flew.
Thinking there would be a flag, Aggies quarterback Kyle Allen launched a pass into double coverage and was intercepted by LSU cornerback Jalen Collins, sealing the Tigers’ victory.
Unlike Miles, Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin was more than aware of what happened. He said all of eight words about the play during his postgame news conference:
“They just said that they didn’t call it.”
Aggies offensive lineman Cedric Ogbuehi said Allen’s decision-making on his last throw of the evening was exactly what he had been taught. Texas A&M’s line had one instruction: If LSU jumps, snap the ball.
LSU jumped, so Texas A&M snapped.
“I don’t know,” LSU defensive tackle Christian LaCouture said of the no-call. “They didn’t call it, so we’ll take it.”
Jet sweep efficiency
LSU offensive coordinator Cam Cameron got creative when attacking Texas A&M’s run defense — the worst in the Southeastern Conference.
Sophomore receiver Travin Dural received four handoffs on jet sweep plays, gaining 49 yards (12.3 per carry). He picked up first downs on three of his attempts.
“They didn’t know if we were handing it off on that jet sweep or if we were running the ball downhill,” quarterback Anthony Jennings said. “That kind of confusion on their part helped us in the running game to get those linebackers and safeties to back up.”
Added running back Leonard Fournette: “People kept following the jet sweep, and we ran underneath.”
Stepping in for Hunter
LSU defensive end Danielle Hunter made one tackle against Texas A&M, with 8:32 remaining in the second quarter. That may have been the last appearance of the night for the Katy, Texas, native.
LaCouture said Hunter suffered a “neck spasm,” knocking him out of the contest and forcing freshman Deondre Clark and sophomore Tashawn Bower to step in. The duo was effective, contributing to a defense that allowed only 160 yards following Hunter’s exit.
LaCouture said he wasn’t surprised by the backups’ performance.
“It’s LSU. We recruit guys to come in and play early,” he said. “They expect that and we expect that, and they prepare themselves like they’re a starter. Whether you’re first-team, second-team or third-string, we just go out there and try to do the thing.”
Miles meant to play Harris
Miles said he meant to play true freshman Brandon Harris against Texas A&M, but he didn’t get into the game. Harris hasn’t received significant playing time since his struggling start in a 41-7 loss at Auburn on Oct. 4.
“I have to be honest with you: I wanted to get Brandon Harris in this game,” Miles said. “That was a personal piece for me, and I need to let you know I didn’t get it done and that was a mistake. That being said, I thought Anthony Jennings could make those plays.”
Freshman receiver Trey Quinn — perhaps still being penalized for his two fourth-quarter drops in the 20-13 overtime loss to Alabama on Nov. 8 — rarely appeared on the field Thursday, but he did make one catch for 3 yards. Receiver John Diarse (team-high three catches for 29 yards and a touchdown) has started the past two games in Quinn’s place.
Miles’ trophy suggestion
The Texas A&M-LSU Thanksgiving game doesn’t have a trophy associated with it. Not yet, at least.
Miles offered a few ideas.
“Someone needs to come up with a trophy,” he said. “There’s so much petroleum, right? Maybe some kind of petroleum … like a wrench or something. Like the roughnecks. I think there’s a chance for a trophy out there. It was a hell of an idea.”
Hilliard in East-West Shrine Game
LSU senior running back Kenny Hilliard accepted an invitation to the East-West Shrine Game.
Hilliard missed the final two games of the regular season with a shoulder injury suffered early in the loss to Alabama. He’s expected to return for the Tigers’ bowl game.
Hilliard finished third on the team in the regular season with 431 yards, adding six scores. The East-West game is 3 p.m. Jan. 17 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida. It will be broadcast on NFL Network.