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Texas A&M Football

Post Game Review: No. 14 Louisiana State 42, Texas A&M 30

November 25, 2023
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7-5...

Texas A&M capped off its 2023 regular season with its 10th consecutive loss on the road, dropping Saturday’s regular-season finale in Baton Rouge, 42-30.

Officially finishing the campaign 7-5, it was another high-expectation, low-performing season for A&M after four road losses, three quarterbacks and one search for a new head coach.

Jayden Daniels opened his final senior game in Death Valley with a shot downfield, broken up by Tyreek Chappell and Jacoby Mathews. On third down, Bryce Anderson made a play to keep Mason Taylor short of the line to gain, forcing a three-and-out.

Jaylen Henderson kicked off his third-career start with great field position, beginning with a shovel pass to Ainias Smith to gain three. Back-to-back rushes from the quarterback placed the Aggies just short of the chains, with former A&M commit and LSU defender Harold Perkins injured on the third down. With the chance to keep the drive alive, Max Wright dropped a wide-open pass.

The opening march was A&M’s only non-scoring drive of the half. 

A quarterback keeper began LSU’s first touchdown drive. Daniels found a first down, hitting Malik Nabers for 18 yards and gained another 21 with a scramble through midfield. Logan Diggs worked his way towards the goal line and eventually ended with a 1-yard rushing touchdown for the early lead.

Le’Veon Moss and Earnest Crownover saw action out of the backfield to start A&M’s proloned — though successful — 10-minute march. Smith fought for another first to cross midfield, and Jake Johnson caught a pass just short of the marker. The Aggies gained the needed yard on fourth down to keep moving. A sack on Henderson set up third-and-12 until Smith was targeted 13 yards downfield. 

Another sack for a loss of five pushed A&M outside of the red zone to end the first quarter. To start the second, Henderson dumped off a pass to David Bailey to earn 16 and set up first-and-goal for A&M. The Louisiana native, Moss, scooted into the end zone untouched to finish the 17-play drive with a score, the most plays on a scoring drive since 2009.

Texas A&M’s defense came up big to force LSU’s offense off the field after three plays. A pair of boys from The Boot, Edgerrin Cooper and Mathews, teamed up to sack Daniels and quiet LSU’s usual high-flying offense. 

Rueben Owens’ first carry of the day was a chain-mover, and Moose Muhammad did the same with a 10-yard catch. A&M could not find another first down, and Randy Bond kicked a 48-yarder through the uprights to take the lead in Death Valley, 10-7.

Jamie Maury, TexAgs
Throwing one interception, Jaylen Henderson finished 25-of-35 for 294 yards and two touchdowns.

However, that lead didn’t last long.

A rush by Daniels for 13 made up for opening the drive with an incompletion. Another incomplete pass came as Nabers was targeted in the end zone, and a holding call pushed the Tigers back.

Yet, Daniels did not shy away from the spotlight, rushing for 23 to keep the offense on the field.

Missed tackles in A&M’s secondary allowed Nabers to move past the line to gain, and the drive was capped off with a 6-yard touchdown pass.

A catch by Noah Thomas prevented the Aggies from going three-and-out. However, a sack for a loss of six followed. Moss made up for some of the lost yardage with a nine-yard reception, and Jahdae Walker kept the offense moving, wide-open to earn 32. Moss was just shy of the line to gain on third down but punched it across on fourth. Faced with another crucial third down, Johnson powered his way 19 yards into the end zone to take the lead before the half, 17-14. 

At the break, Texas A&M and their third-string quarterback were outgaining and outscoring the fourteenth-ranked Tigers and Heisman frontrunner in Daniels. 

The second half was a different story.

A&M’s offense came out firing all cylinders with back-to-back 10-plus yard completions, a rush from Henderson and a 33-yard bomb downfield to Walker. Just three plays later, all Aggies viewing the game could not believe their eyes as 325-pound offensive lineman Mark Nabou Jr. lined up in the backfield and rushed one yard into the end zone to stretch A&M’s lead, 24-14. 

The touchdown marked the first time since 2014 the Aggies led by eight on the road. Though, A&M’s productivity on offense would stop there. 

Daniels turned it on, torching A&M on the ground. Needing four, the quarterback got 49. On the goal line, Josh Williams rushed for one yard to put a bow on the eight-play, 73-yard pursuit. A quick and needed response by the Tigers.

Needing a response, A&M kept the ball on the ground for five consecutive plays, cashing in two new sets of downs. In LSU’s territory, A&M elected to go for it on fourth down once again, going 4-for-4, thanks to an 11-yard carry from Moss. Yet, that's all the yardage LSU would allow, and Bond missed a field goal from 31 yards out.

The Heisman candidate had one more quarter to attempt a comeback. LSU did not gain a single yard in their opening drive of the fourth, as Cooper posted multiple big stops.

Jamie Maury, TexAgs
The Aggies converted 9-of-18 attempts on third down.

Smith’s first reception of the half earned a new set of downs until things went awry for Texas A&M. Henderson’s 100 percent completion rate on third down was spoiled with an interception, thrown right to LSU’s Greg Penn Jr.

The Tigers took advantage immediately, striking with just three plays for 61 yards — one of which was a 23-yard touchdown pass to Brian Thomas Jr. as LSU stole back the lead. Henderson could not make anything of A&M’s ensuing drive, totaling -7 yards. 

Nabers continued to gash A&M’s secondary with a 21-yard reception — LSU’s fourth play for 15 or more through the air. Cooper’s second quarterback hurry forced Daniels to throw out of bounds to set up third down. The down saw an incomplete pass which was deemed a no-play due to a holding call on Demani Richardson. With a new set of four, Daniels used one play to find Nabers in the end zone and punch in six on back-to-back drives. 

In what looked like a sputtering drive early for A&M, Wright made up for his crucial drop earlier in the game with a 51-yard touchdown to put the Aggies back within reach.

However, the two-point conversion was no good, and the Aggies trailed by five with seven minutes to go. 

A gain of 45 for Nabers came back 10 yards due to a holding penalty, but LSU continued to rumble offensively. Daniels rushed for 10, an offsides penalty gifted the Tigers five, and Diggs pushed past the line to gain. Kyren Lacy snagged a 15-yard touchdown reception to keep it a two-score game.

A&M’s offensive inconsistencies persisted, resulting in a turnover on downs, and LSU secured the victory, 42-30.

RUMBLED: Give him credit. Jayden Daniels gave LSU the exact performance the Tigers needed after being down at the half. The senior threw for 235 yards and four touchdowns while also running for 120. When LSU needed him most, four of five second-half drives resulted in six.

STUMBLED: Texas A&M’s defense gave up 21 points in the fourth quarter alone. In addition, their secondary was shredded, letting Nabers put up 122 yards on six receptions. Oh, and seven passing plays over 15 yards will not win you football games. 

TURNING POINT: With 12:51 left in the ball game, Henderson threw his second interception of the season to LSU’s Greg Penn Jr. The game’s only takeaway gave the ball to Daniels, who led the Tigers to a three-play, 59-second touchdown drive. The quarterback followed with two more scoring drives. 

UNSUNG HERO: Jahdae Walker’s first-half production allowed Texas A&M to lead at the half. The Grand Valley State transfer had never taken a Division I snap before 2023 and put up 80 yards on four catches to give the Aggies a chance. #9 has had a great first year in Maroon & White. 

KEY STAT: Texas A&M’s losing streak on the road has now reached double-digits. The streak has now reached ten as the Aggies fell to No. 14 LSU in Baton Rouge. In addition, they haven’t won in Baton Rouge since 1994.

Scoring Summary

First-quarter

LSU: 7:52 - Logan Diggs 1-yard rushing touchdown. Drive: 9 plays, 60 yards. TOP 4:04. LSU 7, Texas A&M 0.

Second-quarter

A&M: 13:43 - Le’ Veon Moss 2-yard rushing touchdown. Drive: 17 plays, 67 yards. TOP 9:02. LSU 7, Texas A&M 7.

A&M: 8:17 - Randy Bond 48-yard field goal. Drive: 9 plays, 35 yards. TOP: 4:05. Texas A&M 10, LSU 7.

LSU: 5:04 - Jayden Daniels 6-yard touchdown pass to Malik Nabers. Drive: 7 plays, 65 yards. TOP: 3:13. LSU 14, Texas A&M 10.

A&M: 0:14 - Jaylen Henderson 14-yard touchdown pass to Jake Johnson. Drive: 13 plays, 78 yards. TOP: 4:45. Texas A&M 17, LSU 14.

Third-quarter

A&M: 11:04 - Mark Nabou Jr. 1-yard rushing touchdown. Drive: 7 plays, 75 yards. TOP 3:56. Texas A&M 24, LSU 14.

LSU: 7:51 - Josh Williams 1-yard rushing touchdown. Drive: 8 plays, 73 yards. TOP 3:09. Texas A&M 24, LSU 21.

Fourth-quarter

LSU: 11:52 - Jayden Daniels 23-yard touchdown pass to Brian Thomas Jr. Drive: 3 plays, 61 yards. TOP: 0:59. LSU 28, Texas A&M 24.

LSU: 8:25 - Jayden Daniels 21-yard touchdown pass to Malik Nabers. Drive: 4 plays, 53 yards. TOP: 1:19. LSU 35, Texas A&M 24.

A&M: 7:20 - Jaylen Henderson 51-yard touchdown pass to Max Wright. Two-point conversion no good. Drive: 3 plays, 64 yards. TOP: 1:01. LSU 35, Texas A&M 30.

LSU: 4:19 - Jayden Daniels 15-yard touchdown pass to Malik Nabers. Drive: 7 plays, 75 yards. TOP: 3:01. LSU 42, Texas A&M 30.

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Post Game Review: No. 14 Louisiana State 42, Texas A&M 30

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