On Saturday, the Aggies lost their first game since Oct. 12, falling to No. 4 Georgia 19-13 in a game where A&M failed to overcome a 13-point fourth quarter deficit. This week, A&M will finish its season against another tough road opponent as the Aggies travel to Baton Rouge to face their third No. 1 team of the season, LSU. The Tigers enter this matchup having clinched the SEC West title, keeping them ahead of the College Football Playoff hunt. Here are five things to watch for as the Aggies take on LSU.
1. Heisman Favorite Joe Burrow
The favorite in the Heisman race, LSU senior quarterback Joe Burrow has transformed the LSU offense that usually struggles to score into a scoring behemoth. This season, the Tigers possess the second best total offense, totaling 561.2 yards per game, and the second highest passing offense, throwing for 386.6 yards in the air while scoring 41 passing touchdowns. With Burrow under center, LSU has turned from an offense that was in the bottom half of the NCAA in total offense into one of the best which has allowed them to contend for the College Football Playoff. With two 1,000-yard receiving threats in wideouts Ja’Marr Chase and Justin Jefferson and other weapons like tight end Thaddeus Moss, son of NFL legend Randy Moss, and receiver Terrace Marshall Jr., Burrow has the tools on offense to build an offense that will challenge the A&M secondary.
2. Tailback Clyde Edwards-Helaire
While the focal point on offense has been Burrow, the Tigers also possess a dynamic tailback in junior Clyde Edwards-Helaire. This season, Edwards-Helaire has done a great job of complementing Burrow and the passing offense, adding 289 receiving yards and 1,146 yards on the ground with 15 touchdowns, building the rushing attack for LSU. In their last four games, Edwards-Helaire has exploded for the Tigers, rushing for an average of 150 yards per game, including 188 yards in their outing against Arkansas. As LSU looks to dominate the Aggies offensively, look for the Tigers to use both Burrow and Edwards-Helaire to keep them going.
3. LSU’s Woes on Defense
One area where LSU has cause for concern is in its defensive inconsistency. While the offense has scored a lot of points this season, the defense has given up points at a similar rate, allowing 23.5 points per game. This includes giving up 41 to Alabama, 38 to Texas, 38 to Vanderbilt and 37 to run-heavy Ole Miss. Against an A&M offense that can score either through the air or on the ground, the LSU defense will have a lot to handle to try and slow down the Aggies.
4. Quarterback Kellen Mond
With the rushing game failing to pick up a single yard against Georgia, the star on offense for A&M was quarterback Kellen Mond, who fell just short of engineering a comeback against the Bulldogs. While his stats will not impress, throwing 25-of-42 for 275 yards with one touchdown pass the numbers don’t tell the full story. In the second half, with the running game deemed ineffective, Mond did a good job of helping drive the Aggies against a tough Georgia defense. Look for Mond to replicate his efforts against the Tigers.
5. A Chance for Revenge in Tiger Stadium
After last week's loss to Georgia, the Aggies move to 2-5 on the road under Jimbo Fisher. Now the Aggies take their road woes into a road environment against a team that wants revenge for what happened in last year’s 74-72 seven-overtime loss to the Aggies. LSU coach Ed Orgeron implied as much in his post-Arkansas press conference, saying, “There’s no question about that, it's going to be on,” Orgeron said. “I’ll never forget that game last year. We're gonna be ready.” With a hungry team looking to build their playoff resume, the Aggies are gonna have to spell their road woes in a hostile SEC environment.