January 28, 2023

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LSU needed to be better in the critical loss at Texas A&M

LSU needed to be better in the critical loss at Texas A&M

COLLEGE STATION, Texas — Riding a five-game winning streak and sure of playing in the Southeastern Conference title game next week, No. 5 LSU had to take care of a poor Texas A&M performance to keep its College Football Playoff hopes alive.

While that, Devon Ashan He had a career-best 215 yards rushing with two touchdowns on Saturday, and Texas A&M stunned LSU 38-23, but all but certainly knocked the Tigers out of CFP contention.

“They’ve done incredible things and I don’t want this loss to take away what they’ve accomplished this year,” LSU coach Brian Kelly said. “It wasn’t a step back. This was a bump in the road and they’re going to learn from it.”

Connor Wegman He threw two TD passes to the Aggies (5-7, 2-6 SEC) and Damani Richardson Returned fumble for a result. The score was tied at 17 in the third quarter before A&M scored 21 consecutive points.

“It shows what kind of team we can be,” Ashan said. “Just show it wasn’t the season we wanted, but we came out to win on top of-[10] Team.”

LSU (9-3, 6-2, No. 5 CFP) had already won the SEC West and earned a chance to play for the conference title against undefeated No. 1 Georgia, and a win there would have put the Tigers in the playoff. . But with three losses to go, it probably won’t be enough to beat the Bulldogs.

“We weren’t our best today,” Kelly said. “I would like to give you a reason why we weren’t our best but we weren’t and we needed to be better.”

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Kelly said he doesn’t think the Aggies have been overlooked by his team.

“We just needed more juice, more fire, and we seemed lacking that day, and that’s on me,” Kelly said.

Kelly made his debut with Florida State’s loss in New Orleans and some inconsistency ensued. But the Tigers turned the corner after losing at home to Tennessee and catapulted the CFP competition with four straight SEC victories over Florida, Ole Miss, Alabama and Arkansas.

“It’s tough. They’ve played great all year. They’ve done incredible things,” Kelly said when asked about his message to the Tigers.

The Aggies, who opened the season ranked sixth but would not qualify for a bowl game for the first time since 2008, delivered a strong finish to their disappointing season. They won back-to-back games for the first time since September after sliding in six games with a win over UMass last week.

“There’s no secret to this,” said Texas A&M coach Jimbo Fisher. “Just go do your thing. There is no magic formula.”

Achane ran for 119 yards and a score before halftime to help A&M take a 17-10 lead.

“Their best players played at their level today,” Kelly said. “We didn’t play it. Our best players needed to play great games and we fell short on that front.”

LSU opened the second half with a nine nail, 71-yard drive, capped off with a 19-yard run John Emery Jr. To equal score 17.

But Edgerrin Cooper He hits Jaden Daniels and forced him to fumble on LSU’s next drive. Richardson caught it and smashed it 37 yards for its second touchdown of the season to put A&M up 24-17 with about seven minutes remaining in the third quarter.

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“I think there was some swing in momentum there,” Kelly said. “I don’t know if we’ve really recovered from it.”

The Aggies extended the lead to 31-17 on the first play of the fourth quarter when Mus Muhammad III Wrapped in a 21-yard TD catch with one hand.

A 10-yard run by Achan, who returned after missing two games with a foot injury, made it 38-17 with about eight minutes left.

A crowd of over 93,000 fans packed Kyle Field and some began rushing onto the field with about 17 seconds left, causing a delay. It was a stark difference from last week, when most of the crowd emptied out after halftime on a wet, cold day.

These fans and many thousands more poured onto the field when time ran out.

Daniels threw for 189 yards and ran for another 84 and Emery had three touchdowns for the Tigers, who lost their first game since falling 40-13 at home to Tennessee on October 8.

Emery cut the lead to 38-23 with a 3-yard run with about 6 1/2 minutes left, but the 2-point conversion fell short.

Daniels got close to hooking up with Gary Jenkins In the end zone in the fourth on LSU’s next possession, however Terek Chapel He hit the ball out of Jenkins’ hands. Then the Aggies ran out the clock.

With all their non-existent playoff chances, Kelly’s Tigers will have to quickly put this behind them if they hope to compete with the Bulldogs in Atlanta.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.