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Preview: Tigers Set to Host Texas A&M in Regular Season Finale

by Harrison Valentine | Digital Media Graduate Assistant
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Preview: Tigers Set to Host Texas A&M in Regular Season Finale

BATON ROUGE – LSU returns to Death Valley for an early morning kick to host Texas A&M in the regular season finale.

Kickoff is set for 11:05 a.m. CT on ESPN, with the LSU Sports Radio Network pregame show starting at 9 a.m.

Last week, Heisman candidate Jayden Daniels continued to rewrite the history books, earning SEC Offensive Player of the Week for the league-leading fifth time this year after his record-tying eight-touchdown and 509 yards of total offense performance vs. Georgia State.

A trip to New York is inevitable for LSU’s quarterback, but the numbers are starting to make the Heisman race clear, says head coach Brian Kelly. Nobody in the country is playing like Jayden Daniels, and the San Bernardino native has one final chance on Saturday morning to prove it.

“If you want to look at numbers, Daniels’ numbers are starting to pull away from everybody,” Kelly said of Daniels. “He’s nearly 1,000 yards of total offense ahead of the next candidate. If you want to look at numbers, this race is starting to distance itself.”

Behind Daniels, LSU (8-3, 5-2 SEC) leads the country in total offense (562.2 yards per game) and scoring (46.8). This type of production, which has positioned Daniels atop the Heisman race heading into the final week, is not by accident. His offseason work and preparation throughout the season, Kelly says, has put him in position to be an elite quarterback in college football.

“Everybody has a choice,” Kelly said. “You can choose to be good, you can choose to be great, you can choose to be elite. He chose to be elite. He had to take some measures to get there: early morning training, utilizing the modalities available to him, from VR to training in California to additional film study.”

It was another prolific week for LSU’s wide receivers. Malik Nabers led the team with eight catches for 140 yards and two touchdowns, while Brian Thomas reeled in four catches for 103 yards and a score and Kyren Lacy tallied five catches for 101 yards and two touchdowns. Nabers, Thomas and Lacy became the first trio in school history to record 100 receiving yards and score a touchdown in the same game, adding another accolade to an already-historic offense.

Texas A&M (7-4, 4-3 SEC) is led by quarterback Max Johnson, who has been out with an injury since November 4 against Ole Miss. Jaylen Henderson has assumed the starting role, accounting for 410 yards passing and four touchdowns over the past two weeks.

Junior Amari Daniels leads the A&M rushing attack with 505 yards and five touchdowns on the ground, while sophomore Le’Veon Moss is a close second with 439 yards and four scores. Senior Ainias Smith leads the Aggies with 45 receptions for 736 yards and two touchdowns, while Evan Stewart has recorded 514 yards on 38 receptions for four touchdowns.

“This is a team that is ultimately talented on both sides of the ball,” Kelly said. “Skill players, outstanding defense ranked as one of the best in the SEC. Outstanding defensive line. This will be a great challenge for our offense, certainly for our defense and our ability to play a complete four quarters of football.”

Prior to kickoff, LSU will honor its 16-player senior class. There’s work to be done this season, but Saturday will give Coach Kelly the platform to express his gratitude for their contributions to the LSU Football program. 

“These are the opportunities that you get to thank those guys that have helped build the foundation for our football program,” Kelly said. “This will be the opportunity that I get.”

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