LSU survives A&M, looks toward Tide

LSU coach Les Miles is already giving Alabama something to think

about, two weeks away from their showdown in Death Valley.

The Tigers (7-1, 3-1 Southeastern Conference) head into the

month of November with one loss or fewer for the sixth time in

eight years following Saturday’s 24-19 win over Texas A&M. LSU

has an open date before hosting top-ranked Alabama on Nov. 3,

The Crimson Tide wasn’t on Miles’ mind moments after LSU rallied

to beat the Aggies at Kyle Field.

”We’re going to get on the plane,” Miles said. ”We’re going

to head home. We’re going to find us a big flat-screen TV

somewhere. Eat heavily, watch the games, and probably tomorrow

sometime we’ll likely meet with the team and describe the game and

kind of fix it, talk about the things we did good and the things we

didn’t.”

Long passes were one of the things LSU didn’t do well against

Texas A&M.

Zach Mettenberger completed only 11 of 29 passes for 97 yards.

He did throw a 29-yard TD pass to Kadron Boone that put LSU ahead

for good just before halftime. Otherwise, he completed no pass

longer than 17 yards and overthrew some open receivers down the

field.

The Tigers have two weeks to fix that – and maybe work on some

deep throws to try against the Tide.

”We’re going to hit some of those deep shots eventually,”

Miles said.

Mettenberger said the Aggies stacked the line of scrimmage to

stop LSU’s running attack, something he hadn’t seen other opponents

try yet this season. That created opportunities for long passes,

but Mettenberger said the swirling wind at Kyle Field affected his

touch.

”It was really tough to throw those deep balls accurately

today,” he said. ”Before this game, we really hadn’t taken many

shots downfield. Next time, we have to capitalize on the deep

balls.”

The Tigers weren’t biting on questions about the Tide after

Saturday’s hard-fought win.

LSU beat Alabama 9-6 in overtime in Tuscaloosa last Nov. 5. The

Crimson Tide then dominated the Tigers 21-0 in the BCS championship

game.

”We can’t look into that right now,” running back Michael Ford

said. ”We have to go and make corrections from this game.”

And there will be plenty of those, particularly from the first

quarter and a half. The Aggies (5-2, 2-2) and their no-huddle

offense kept the Tigers off balance early and dropped LSU into a

12-0 deficit, its biggest since last year’s championship game.

As the first half wore on, LSU’s defense started to figure out

A&M and quarterback Johnny Manziel, who came into the game

leading the SEC in total offense. Freshman Jalen Collins got the

Tigers going when he intercepted Manziel’s pass near midfield.

Collins was making his first.

Ford finished the resulting drive with a 20-yard touchdown run,

the 13th of his career.

Texas A&M’s Ben Malena then fumbled at the Aggies’ 42, and

Boone made a diving, over-the-shoulder catch in the end zone with

11 seconds left before the break. LSU also converted another

Manziel interception into a touchdown in the fourth quarter.

”We’ve been in situations like that before,” defensive end Sam

Montgomery said about trailing early. ”We know how to fight our

way out of those situations. The game is not over until the fourth

quarter.”

LSU’s offense would like to help the defense a bit more. The

Tigers failed to score a touchdown in the first quarter for the

third straight game, and they’re averaging only 16 points in their

four SEC games.

”Our job as an offensive group is we have to start clicking

more, start scoring points earlier,” Boone said.

A&M outgained LSU 410-316, and the Tigers went a paltry

2-for-16 on third down. As long as the Tigers keep winning, though,

the defense doesn’t mind carrying the load.

”They had more yards than us,” junior defensive end Barkevious

Mingo said of the Aggies. ”They passed for more and ran for more.

But our offense did what they needed to.”

LSU plays its next three games at home before wrapping up the

regular season at Arkansas. The Tigers have won 22 straight games

in Death Valley, the nation’s longest current streak and the

longest in school history.