LSU rallied from a 12-0, first half deficit in College Station to top Texas A&M, 24-19. The LSU defense did what the LSU defense does, limiting Johnny Manziel and the high scoring Aggie offense, particularly in the red zone, and the offense found its rhythm the more Les Miles and offensive coordinator Greg Studrawa relied on the rush. More running opportunities allowed Tiger rising star Jeremy Hill to shine, breaking 120 yards for the second time in as many SEC efforts and scoring his third touchdown.
A&M is a tremendous, road win for Miles’ Bayou Bengals, which get SEC West undefeateds Mississippi State and Alabama at home. The Tigers are in control of their conference championship destiny. And, since winning out would presumably mean eliminating Alabama, LSU also has a greater stake in its BCS championship destiny than other highly ranked, one-loss teams.
LSU needs to improve its starts. In the first halves against both South Carolina and Texas A&M, the Tiger offense sputtered initially. Insistence on quarterback Zach Mettenberger passing frequently is hindering; the Tigers cook when utilizing its deep cache of running backs.
Hill is the clear star now with Alfred Blue nursing a knee injury. Today, he carried 18 times for 127 yards. The freshman’s last two performances rank among the better efforts for all SEC running backs this season. And a clear No. 1 threat emerging in Blue’s absence spells greater opportunity for Michael Ford, who carried for an average of 7.1 yards per attempt and scored a touchdown.
Spencer Ware and Kenny Hilliard hardly even factored into LSU’s game plan against Texas A&M. Should Miles and Studrawa find ways to get all four backs going — five when Blue returns — LSU will have one of the most dangerous ground attacks in college football. Mettenberger’s inconsistency then becomes less of an issue.
And today, Mettenberger struggled. Mightily. He was just 11-29 for 97 yards. Twenty-nine attempts are a lot for a team that has so many options to ground-and-pound. Dont’ expect LSU to go to the Wing-T or Wishbone anytime soon, though it would be surprising to see Mettenberger continue to approach and surpass 30 attempts with the rushers finding their stride.