Sunday, October 21, 2012
3 Up, 3 Down: LSU 24, Texas A&M 19
By Sam Khan Jr.
COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- There were many ups and downs and twist and turns but when the dust settled at Kyle Field, no. 18 Texas A&M was on the short end of a 24-19 defeat at the hands of no. 6 LSU. The Aggies will now turn their attention to Auburn, the first of three consecutive road games in Southeastern Conference play for Texas A&M. But before we look ahead, let's look back at the highs and lows of the action on Saturday:
1. Damontre Moore He continues to live up to his nickname around Aggieland "Damonster." He led the team in tackles again on Saturday (he recorded 10) had a sack, two tackles for loss, a pass breakup and a quarterback hurry. All that considering that he also hurt his knee early in the game and returned and played through the injury.
2. Ben MalenaHis fumble hurt (and it was one of the turnovers that eventually converted into LSU points) but otherwise, Malena played well. He ran for 82 yards and a touchdown on 12 carries, caught a pair of passes for 21 yards (and had a 34-yard touchdown reception called back for a penalty), was solid in pass protection picking up blitzers and even made a nice special teams tackle on the coverage team.
3. Ryan Swope Swope left the Louisiana Tech game after taking a helmet-to-helmet shot and there was uncertainty about his status coming into the game but Swope played and played well, catching a season-high 10 passes for 81 yards in the win.
Turnovers The Aggies committed five turnovers (four that really mattered, the fifth was on the final play of the game which involved numerous desperation laterals before LSU jumped on the final one that fell on the ground after being tossed by Ryan Swope), and that's way too many to beat any team, particularly top 10 teams. Three of them were interceptions tossed by Johnny Manziel (one of which was a pass that went off the hands of an open Mike Evans) and the other was a fumble by Ben Malena. Ball security is a must if Texas A&M is going to win SEC West games.
2. Kicking game Redshirt freshman kicker Taylor Bertolet struggled on Saturday, missing a point-after-touchdown kick and two field goal attempts. One of them was long and difficult (52 yards) but the other was a heartbreaker, a 33-yard miss with 7:28 to go in the game. That miss left the Aggies with zero points after a 76-yard kickoff return by freshman Trey Williams gave Texas A&M the ball at the LSU 16-yard line trailing 17-12.
3. Missed opportunities The Aggies left 11 points on the field -- the seven in the kicking game plus potentially four more after a first-quarter 34-yard touchdown pass from Manziel to Malena on a throwback screen was called back for a chop block penalty. The first two turnovers turned a 12-0 Texas A&M lead into a 14-12 LSU lead at the half. And the Aggies weren't as good in the red zone as Kevin Sumlin would have liked. They scored three of four trips but only two were touchdowns. Those things make the difference when you're playing great teams.