Devon Achane had a career-high 215 rushing yards with two touchdowns as Texas A&M stunned No. 5 LSU 38-23 on Saturday night, knocking the Tigers out of contention for the football playoff. college american.
Conner Weigman threw two touchdown passes for the Aggies (5-7, 2-6 Southeastern Conference) and Demani Richardson returned a fumble for a score. The game was tied at 17 going into the third quarter before A&M scored 21 straight points.
LSU (9-3, 6-2, No. 5 CFP) had already clinched a spot in next week’s SEC title game against unbeaten No. 1 Georgia, and a win there could have put the Tigers in the playoffs. But with three losses, even beating the Bulldogs probably won’t be enough.
The Aggies, who opened the season in sixth place but will not qualify for a bowl game for the first time since 2008, finished their disappointing season strong. They won back-to-back games for the first time since September after snapping a six-game skid with a win over UMass last week.
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Achane rushed for 119 yards and a score before halftime to help A&M take a 17-10 lead.
LSU opened the second half with a nine-play, 71-yard drive, capped by a 19-yard run by John Emery Jr. to tie it 17–17.
But Edgerrin Cooper hit Jayden Daniels and forced him to fumble on LSU’s ensuing drive. Richardson picked it up and ran 37 yards for his second touchdown this season to put A&M on top 24-17 with about seven minutes remaining in the third quarter.
The Aggies extended the lead to 31-17 on the first play of the fourth quarter when Moose Muhammad hauled in a 21-yard one-handed touchdown run.
A 10-yard run by Achane, who returned after missing two games with a foot injury, made it 38-17 with about eight minutes to go.
A rowdy crowd of over 93,000 fans packed Kyle Field with some beginning to run onto the field with about 17 seconds remaining, causing a delay. It was a big difference from last week, when most of the crowd emptied out after halftime on a cold, wet day.
Those fans and several thousand more poured onto the field as time expired.
Daniels passed for 189 yards and rushed for 84 more and Emery had three touchdowns for the Tigers, who lost their first game since a 40-13 loss at home to Tennessee on Oct. 8.
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Emery cut the lead to 38-23 with a 3-yard run with about 6 1/2 minutes to go, but the 2-point conversion missed.
Daniels nearly connected with Jaray Jenkins in the end zone on fourth down on LSU’s next possession, but Tyreek Chappell knocked the ball out of Jenkins’ hands. Then the Aggies ran out of time.
Achane put A&M ahead early with a 10-yard TD run on the team’s first possession.
Emery tied it with a 4-yard run early in the second quarter.
The teams traded field goals, and the Aggies regained the lead when Weigman threw under heavy pressure and connected with Donovan Green on a 3-yard touchdown drive about a minute before halftime. Achane had runs of 29 and 17 yards on that drive.
THE TO TAKE
LSU: With their playoff chances slim to none, coach Brian Kelly’s Tigers will have to put this behind them quickly if they hope to compete with the Bulldogs.
Texas A&M: The Aggies have shown that they have plenty of talent to compete with teams at the top of the SEC. The question is why coach Jimbo Fisher’s team couldn’t put him together earlier in the year. The Aggies hadn’t won an SEC game since beating Arkansas on September 24.
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UNTIL NEXT TIME
LSU: Play Georgia in the SEC championship game next Saturday.
Texas A&M: Will try to get through this disappointing season.