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In what feels like an obligatory statement — and probably one Brian Kelly has made — LSU, do not let TAMU become your South Carolina.
Every member of the staff needs to be cognizant of ‘trap game’ vibes and do everything to prevent it. The Tigers have fought back in a big way — remember, at 4-2 and being an underdog dog to Florida, when I told you to stick with LSU. I am going to tell you again. Stick with LSU.
The bottom line belief is that LSU may have clinched the trip to the SEC title game, but it has the ambition to make the CFB playoff. It simply can not lose this game. So, it won’t.
The defense will have to shine.
Texas A&M has been a confounding team this year and LSU needs to understand it could be back to full strength. And that it is a dangerous team.
The Aggies are figuring to get running back Devon Achane and wideout Evan Stewart back. With Moose Muhammad still standing out, the trio has a solid track record. In the three starts with Conner Weigman at quarterback, the offense has looked more dynamic. Weigman has also not thrown a pick in his games. The Aggies showed some RPO plays two weeks ago that helped get the ball out quickly. The package was kind of shelved last week, to lesser results, so that could come back.
Texas A&M’s offensive line is also much better at home. It is a young group, and it has shuffled a lot this season. This will be only the second game that the group will start in the same positions all season. On the road, it has been flagged for procedure penalties plenty. Having a home crowd could help settle it.
Again, the defense will have to shine.
Ends BJ Ojulari and Ali Gaye have been solid all season. They can get to the passer — and have paired for 11.5 tackles for loss and seven sacks. They also have done a good job of setting edges and being active in the run game. On the interior Mekhi Winko and Jaquelin Roy join the conversation of solid but unspectacular.
LSU has done a solid job rotating between three- and four-man fronts this season. Expect that to continue and allow the Tigers to bring additional pressure and confuse a young group.
Harold Perkins has the chance to really stand out. Perkins alternates his play as a hybrid. Fans of the program want to paint it as a “Micah Parsons” role, but comparing a freshman to one of the best defensive players in the NFL seems silly to me.
Anyways, LSU is settling in under Brian Kelly — for the most part, and in Year 1, going to the SEC title game is a win. Texas A&M is a bit of a dumpster fire right now.
There is too much on the line for LSU to trip up now. TAMU can empty the playbook because its season is over. At 1-6 in the conference and 4-7 overall, this is their last game. LSU has to be ready to match any elevated energy and be prepared for a lot of last-ditch efforts.
Kelly, and LSU, are better than Jimbo and Texas A&M. Sometimes, it is that simple.