LSU plays its final home game in Tiger Stadium this season against Texas A&M on Saturday, a rematch of the seven-overtime epic last year. The No. 1 Tigers can finish the regular season undefeated. These are staff writer Wilson Alexander's keys to the game for LSU.
1. Harness emotions
LSU sometimes downplays the emotions involved in rivalry games, but not this week. Starting with coach Ed Orgeron, the Tigers have embraced the way they feel about facing Texas A&M for the first time since losing to the Aggies in seven overtimes. Hint: they want revenge. LSU needs to balance those emotions with sound football. The team got too emotional early on against Auburn, and it took awhile to settle down.
The game that will never be forgotten is nearing its anniversary.
2. Stop the run
In its four losses this season, Texas A&M has rushed for an average of 58 yards on 24 carries per game, only eclipsing the 100-yard threshold once. The Aggies rushed for -2 yards in their loss to Georgia last weekend. Their failure to establish an effective running game has limited the offense’s rhythm and forced it into obvious passing situations. LSU needs to stop the run and make Texas A&M one-dimensional.
It is as predictable as Thanksgiving day turkeys — the one on your dinner table and the Detroit Lions on your TV set:
3. Get after Mond
Junior quarterback Kellen Mond last week joined former Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel as the only Texas A&M quarterbacks to pass for 7,000 yards and run for 1,000 yards during their careers. Mond, the third-leading passer in the Southeastern Conference at 246.4 yards per game, has played well this season. However, Texas A&M has allowed 27 sacks, which ranks 93rd in the country. LSU can disrupt Mond.
Joe Burrow does not possess blazing speed or elite arm strength, but the Heisman Trophy front-runner’s ability to escape pressure and extend plays has contributed to LSU’s success this season.
4. Maintain offensive consistency
Almost everything LSU has tried on offense this season has worked. The Tigers have the second-highest scoring offense in the country. Quarterback Joe Burrow is in the midst of a historic, record-breaking season. Ja’Marr Chase may win the Biletnikoff Award as the nation’s top wide receiver. Clyde Edwards-Helaire has averaged 127 rushing yards in conference games. The Tigers have looked vulnerable on defense, but their offense can mask those issues — for now.