Here we are. The LSU Tigers have waited 52 weeks for this game. This isn’t Auburn-Alabama, a rivalry with an ancient and nasty long-term history, but in 2019, LSU views Texas A&M with venom and disgust and a burning desire to inflict severe pain on the Aggies.
By Matt Zemek
LSU fans, coaches and players remember the horrible officiating which marred A&M’s seven-overtime, 74-72 win over the Tigers last year in College Station. LSU fans despise the administrators and supervisors of the Southeastern Conference. This isn’t something which began with the A&M game, of course. Alabama-centric officiating bias is real, and it has existed in the SEC for a long time. Auburn fans and LSU fans are united in that prevailing line of thought (a correct one), and they bear the brunt of that reality more than the fan bases of any other football schools in the SEC.
What the A&M game did was bring that long-term anger roaring back to the surface of memory. Many years of accumulated frustrations came pouring out. The fact that last year’s game went seven overtimes, lasting four hours and 53 minutes, gave LSU fans a lot of time to contemplate how badly the SEC refs jobbed them… and to then contemplate, when the game was over, how pathetic SEC officiating generally is.
The LSU community wants blood. It wants a reckoning. It doesn’t want to merely defeat A&M, it wants to embarrass and destroy the Aggies.
Yes, the SEC Championship Game awaits on the other side of this game, Dec. 7 in Atlanta, but first things first: LSU wants to humiliate Jimbo Fisher and his team.
1 – Offensive line
It is very simple: If LSU’s offensive line can stand up to A&M’s defensive front, the Tigers can do more than merely win; they can destroy the Aggies on the scale they want. Joe Burrow is going to be the 2019 Heisman Trophy winner. Keep him clean, and the rest will take care of itself.
2 – Tempo
If LSU wants to simultaneously get the scoreboard bloodbath it wants but also preserve Joe Burrow for the Georgia game, a faster pace on offense will be warranted. Operating more quickly might tire out A&M’s pass rushers, which could reduce the number of hits Burrow takes in this game. Operating quickly would naturally enable LSU to collect more possessions and have more chances to roll up huge numbers earlier in the game, which would enable Burrow to leave the game in the third quarter while STILL putting up more than 50 points on the Aggies.
3 – Third- and fourth-down defense
Texas A&M has nothing to lose, and LSU’s defense has not been airtight this season. One of the very few things which could make LSU nervous is for an opposing offense with a lot less firepower to continuously convert third and fourth downs and keep the ball away from Burrow. As long as LSU stands tall on enough third and fourth downs, the Tigers should be in position to get the rout they want.