The No. 22 Texas A&M defense secured the game winning stop after enduring seven overtimes in A&M’s 74-72 victory over No. 7 Louisiana State University, giving the six seniors an unforgettable last game in Kyle Field.
“It feels good,” senior linebacker Otaro Alaka said. “Going out on Kyle Field, you couldn’t ask for anything better than that.”
Head coach Jimbo Fisher said the defense put out a performance the seniors could be proud of, staying locked in after LSU’s offense answered each of A&M’s touchdowns with one of their own.
“To walk out of that stadium, the last time you ever went down that tunnel and the last time you ever went back out that tunnel, to have accomplished what you’ve accomplished — I mean it’ll always be special for them,” Fisher said. “We talked about that. We told our players we wanted our seniors to understand how much they meant.”
In LSU’s last possession of the seventh and final overtime, A&M’s defense was unable to stop the run game of junior quarterback Joe Burrow — who led the Tigers with 132 rushing yards and three touchdowns — from earning another touchdown. However, during the two-point conversion, Burrow’s pass failed to reach a receiver, putting the game into the hands of the Aggie offense.
“We go through every play making sure we do our jobs to the best of our ability,” senior defensive lineman Landis Durham said. “We got the stop, so obviously that was huge. Offense goes out and [we] just watch the offense after that — be good cheerleaders.”
The A&M secondary completed the game with six sacks, 88 total tackles and one turnover and held LSU to 10-of-20 third down conversions.
Senior defensive back Donovan Wilson led the pack with seven solo tackles and 13 overall, with one break up pass. Wilson was followed by Alaka with two sacks, five solo tackles and 11 total, while sophomore defensive back Debione Renfro added his own seven solo tackles and 10 overall with one sack.
Durham said the defense had more than enough energy during the four-hour and 53-minute game due to the hunger A&M had for a win over LSU.
“You saw it was a battle the whole game,”Durham said. “We knew we could win this game and that was all we needed. Just the fact that we knew we could win, we could beat these guys, we can go home happy — that was the motivating factor right there.”
With the win over LSU, the Aggies await a bowl game placement and hope to continue their season with the grit and talent they performed with on Saturday.
“The catalyst wins are catalyst if you build on things,” Fisher said. “That’s what we have to do right now. We have to get our bearings back, get ready, get [our academics] ready and get ready for a bowl game. Practice our tails off. … We’ve got to get better. It’s time to get better.”