BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Breaking weeks of silence, LSU athletic director Joe Alleva stepped to the microphone after Tigers' 19-7 Senior Day win over Texas A&M and announced that in his end-of-the-season evaluation, "Les Miles is our football coach and will continue to be our football coach."
LSU players, who heard weeks of speculation that three-straight double-digit losses to Alabama, Arkansas and Ole Miss might cost Miles his job, carried their coach off the field in a show of unbridled support.
It was an emotion repeated earlier in the day by fans who crowded around Miles and his team as they arrived at Tiger Stadium, showering them with cheers of support and shouted "Fire Alleva" in response to the AD's decision to reserve comment on the coach's future until after the final game of the regular season.
Alleva didn't take any questions, but yielded the microphone to Miles after his statement. Miles said he found out he would remain as head coach when "[LSU President F.] King Alexander said, 'I want you to be our coach.'"
After a week of reflecting on 11 seasons at LSU at news conferences and with tearful fans at his live radio show, Miles summed up his feelings.
"The reason I came here was because the expectations are so high," said Miles. "The job you've been having, you still have to do it. I like that."
LSU overcame a sluggish first half, in which the Tigers trailed 7-6 at halftime after missed chances to score touchdowns and a couple of field goals, with a 50-yard touchdown from freshman running back Derrius Guice and a clinching fourth quarter touchdown from running back Leonard Fournette,
Fournette broke Charles Alexander's single season rushing record of 1,686 with 159 yards against the Aggies defense to end up with 1,741. Officials said the record could grow, as the Tigers are bowl eligible and the statistics from the bowl game count toward season totals.
LSU (8-3, 5-3) moved into a tie for third place in the SEC West with Arkansas and finished ahead of Texas A&M (8-4, 4-4) and Mississippi State with the victory.