COLLEGE STATION, TX (WAFB) - LSU may not be in the national championship conversation this year like some of its SEC West brethren, but Thursday night's come-from-behind win in College Station did put some distance in the standings between the Tigers and Western Division bottom feeders Texas A&M and Arkansas.
The Aggies' final offensive play of the night was a controversial one.
"They said Sione (Teuhema) had jumped early, but he didn't get called off sides," said junior cornerback Jalen Collins. "So, I think that's why the quarterback kind of threw it up like that."
He must have thought he had a free play?
"He must have," said sophomore linebacker Kendell Beckwith. "He must have. I don't know. I mean, but I appreciate it. I thank him for it."
"At first, we thought Sione jumped off sides, but I guess he didn't," said freshman safety Jamal Adams. "So, we played, we kept playing through the play."
"Just seen it, you know, right there in the air for me to take it," Jalen Collins added.
A look at the final box score seems to indicate the game shouldn't have been that close. LSU possessed the ball for more than 41 minutes and rushed it almost 400 yards. Freshman running back Leonard Fournette had 146 of those. Sophomore quarterback Anthony Jennings ran for 119. Senior running back Terrence Magee gained 74. Wide receiver Travin Dural sprinted for 49.
"It feels great, 'cause that's the style of football we like to play," said senior offensive tackle La'el Collins. "We like to keep the ball on the ground. We like to rush the football. And, you know, it's just that's the type of guys we got on the O-line."
"Actually, we had a really good game plan going into it and we stuck to it," said sophomore center Ethan Pocic. "And, things just started clicking and it felt good to get...get it going."
"I think they're one of the best offensive lines in the nation," said Jennings. "Those guys come to work every day. I'm very excited for this future and this bowl game."
"Coach Frank told me make a man, 'cause that one man, make him miss and I made him miss and I scored," Fournette explained.
Made him miss by running over him.
"Yes sir," Fournette said and laughed.
LSU failed to pull away from Texas A&M, due in part to its adventures in place kicking.
"We cannot, not kick field goals," said head coach Les Miles. "We've got to be able to convert."
After sophomore kicker Colby Delahoussaye missed from point-blank range early, he was benched in favor of kickoff specialist Trent Domingue.
"I think we were fortunate to have Trent to go to when we did," Miles added.
Domingue made two short-range field goals and a pair extra points. However, after he missed from roughly 40 yards in the fourth quarter, it was Delahoussaye's responsibility to give LSU its final six-point cushion. He made a 43-yard field goal by kicking it about 43.5 yards.
"Went back with Colby and said, 'Okay Colby, you know, kick the one that counts.' And, he did. And, we'd like to think that the first one counted, too, but it didn't. So..." Miles explained.
An 8-4 regular season isn't up to the usual standards of LSU football, but considering the Tigers started 0-2 in the SEC and many people thought the season would spiral out of control, perhaps, it isn't that bad.
"We said, coming into the season, that we were going to be a young team, that we have to grow up and there would be some issues with this season. But frankly, this team has done the things that we've asked them to do," Miles said.