While the rest of College Station is preparing for Thanksgiving, the Texas A&M football team is getting ready to face a tough SEC West opponent at Kyle Field on Saturday.
This is the last installment in a three-home game series for the Aggies, in which A&M is undefeated after wins over Ole Miss and The University of Alabama at Birmingham. No. 8 Louisiana State University (9-2, 5-2 SEC) is coming off a 42-8 win over Rice, in which the offense accumulated 552 total yards.
The Aggies have been unsuccessful against LSU since coming into the conference in 2012. Junior tight end Jace Sternberger said he’s confident in the team’s ability to end that streak.
“To be on a team that has a chance to be the first to beat LSU, that’s a blessing,” Sternberger said. “We’re all eager for the challenge.”
The A&M secondary hasn’t been up to par, though they play behind the second-best run defense in the nation. The secondary allowed over 300 passing yards to Conference USA team UAB. The Blazers also converted 10 third downs, the most against the Aggies this season.
“We need to play better,” Fisher said. “We don’t need to give up that many yards and that many third down conversions. We have to keep learning to play the passes better. We have one of the top teams in the country coming in here ... so we have to get ready to go.”
LSU junior quarterback Joe Burrow was 20-of-28 passing with 307 yards and two touchdowns after playing two and a half quarters against Rice. The Tigers’ leading rusher is senior running back Nick Brossette, who has racked up 792 yards on 181 carries.
Fisher said the Aggies will have to play a near-perfect game to defeat LSU on Saturday.
“We’re going to have to play better in all three phases,” Fisher said. “They’re a talented football team across the board. ... We’re going to really have to dot our I’s and cross our T’s.”
Sternberger said the key the Aggies’ success on Saturday will be how its able to finish the game. In A&M’s two recent losses to Mississippi State and Auburn, it failed to score points in the fourth quarter. Against Ole Miss and UAB, the Aggies scored 17 and seven fourth-quarter points, respectively.
“You can come out strong and be dominant from the get-go, but we showed against Auburn if you don’t finish, none of it matters,” Sternberger said.
The A&M offense is also focused on maintaining balance, said sophomore quarterback Kellen Mond.
“We’re going to have to win one-on-one matchups,” Mond said. “The receivers and tight ends are going to have to make big plays for us. We’re going to have to be a really balanced offense and really just do what we do and execute what we practice.”
A&M will host LSU on Nov. 24 with kickoff set for 6:30 p.m. The game will be televised on the SEC Network.