LSU 24, Texas A&M 19: Tigers school Aggies on dangers of turnovers

LSU taught Texas A&M a valuable lesson Saturday.

It’s not just that famed speed that kills in the SEC. Turnovers can be deadly, too.

The Aggies did more than enough against the Tigers to come up with what would have been the biggest win of their short time in the SEC, including gaining eight more first downs and roughly 100 more yards in total offense. They couldn’t overcome five giveaways, though. The Bayou Bengals didn’t turn it over once and churned out 219 yards on the ground en route to a 24-19 win.

Johnny Manziel, A&M’s heralded freshman field general, got knocked down a couple pegs by one of the nation’s best defenses. Manziel and the Aggies moved the ball early in the game, mounting scoring drives of 75 and 66 yards on their first two possessions. Then the Tigers clamped down.

Johnny Football routinely pulled off escape acts in his backfield versus LSU pass rushers, only to find few options open downfield. The Tigers picked him off three times, twice inside A&M territory. Of his 56 attempts, Manziel completed 29 for 276 yards, a meager 4.9 yards per attempt.

LSU pulled off the win in typically bizarre fashion.

The Tigers were thoroughly outplayed in the first half, but they managed to steal a 14-12 halftime lead. A&M running back Ben Malena fumbled the ball on his own 41-yard line with just 46 ticks left in the second quarter. QB Zach Mettenberger zipped a 29-yard scoring pass to Kadron Boone with 11 seconds left in the half, easily his most impressive throw on an otherwise unimpressive day (11-29 attempts, 97 yards, 1 TD).

To his credit, Mettenberger did take care of the ball, enabling his stable of tailbacks to go to work in the second half. The Aggies eventually gave in. Freshman running back Jeremy Hill blasted through the line of scrimmage for a game-clinching 47-yard TD run with 3:12 left to go.

Although this is far from a vintage LSU team, the win does keep Les Miles’ team essentially in control of its own destiny in the national title race. The Aggies, meanwhile, have to hope the rest of their SEC learning curve isn’t too steep.