For Johnny Manziel and the no. 12th ranked Texas A&M Aggies, Saturday’s game against the no. 22 ranked LSU Tigers presented another golden opportunity for a stunning performance to set the stage for another Heisman trophy victory. Many experts thought that the Aggies, led by their high-powered offense, would walk over the Tigers in Death Valley.
However, the Tigers defense asserted their will and dominated the Aggies for the 34-10 win.
The Tigers came out of the gate smoking in the first quarter. LSU opened up a 14-0 lead as LSU defensive coordinator John Chavous did a fantastic job of game planning. The Tigers were able to hold Texas A&M to 33 total yards in the first quarter and three punts. The Tigers defensive front, led by Ego Ferguson and Anthony Johnson, pressured the pocket and forced Manziel into overshooting his wide receivers early in the first half.
The pressure created by the Tigers forced the Aggies out of rhythm offensively and allowed the Tigers crowd to become a major factor.
The ability for LSU to play man-to-man coverage on the outside allowed the Tigers to utilize blitz packages and force Manziel into quick reads. Texas A&M’s big-play wide receiver Mike Evans was a non-factor and was frustrated all afternoon by the physical Tigers’ secondary led by Craig Loston (team-high seven tackles, one interception). LSU held Evans to four receptions for 51 yards and no touchdowns.
The extra week to prepare certainly helped the Tigers in preparation for the Aggies. On the day, LSU held Texas A&M to 299 total yards and was able to force two turnovers. The Tigers were able to force third down and long situations and held Texas A&M to 5-of-14 (35.7 percent) on third down conversions.
Manziel was held to his worst performance of the season. He had completed over 60 percent of his passes in every game this year, but on Saturday, the Tigers suffocated the Heisman trophy winner and held him to a 39 percent completion percentage (16 of 41). Manziel would finish with 224 passing yards with one touchdown and two interceptions, and a quarterback rating of 83.2.
LSU moved to 8-3 on the season and 4-3 in the SEC.