COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- While its offense had a tough time shaking off the cobwebs for an 11 a.m. kickoff, the defense forced five turnovers and No. 6 LSU overcame a 12-0 deficit to defeat No. 20 Texas A&M, 24-19.
Making its first trip to Kyle Field since 1995, LSU (7-1, 3-1 SEC) scored 24-straight points to silence the crowd and earn its first win in College Station since 1987 (17-3). It was also the Tigers' largest comeback at an opponent's stadium since 2004 (at Florida, 24-21).
For the second-straight week, LSU running back Jeremy Hill carried for more than 100 yards in the second half, as the freshman finished with career-best 127 yards rushing and another dagger in his opponent's heart in the fourth quarter. Last week, Hill's 50-yard fourth-quarter score gave LSU a victory over No. 3 South Carolina. This week, a 47-yard touchdown run with 3:12 remaining that put LSU ahead 24-12.
The Tigers have an open date before taking on No. 1 Alabama on Nov. 3. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. CT on CBS.
Texas A&M (5-2, 2-2 SEC) had the Tigers on their heels in the opening quarter but couldn't hold off LSU's fierce defensive front. The Aggies scored the game's first 12 points but didn't score again until they were down 12 with 77 seconds remaining.
Along with Hill's rushing yards, Michael Ford added 78 yards on 11 carries and a 20-yard touchdown while Spencer Ware was held to only 15 yards on eight carries including three from under center.
On a windy gameday, LSU quarterback Zach Mettenberger was 11-of-29 passing for 97 yards with a 29-yard touchdown pass to Kadron Boone that game the Tigers a lead just before halftime. Mettenberger had eight passes broken up or batted down by defenders but did not commit a turnover.
Boone had a team-high 49 yards on four catches while Odell Beckham Jr. added four receptions for 35 yards.
Defensively, linebacker Kevin Minter led the Tigers in tackles for the fifth time in eight games. Minter had 12 tackles including one sack with an interception, and two quarterback hurries. Safety Eric Reid added 11 tackles while Craig Loston had nine and Lamin Barrow had eight with a fumble recovery.
Texas A&M outgained LSU, 410-316, but turnovers doomed the Aggies. LSU scored 21 points off turnovers.
Manziel, a redshirt freshman, completed 29-of-56 passes for 276 yards but accounted for three turnovers with interceptions. He was sacked three times and hurried four more by the LSU defense that focused on containing the mobile signal caller. Manziel added 27 net yards rushing on 17 carries.
Ben Malena led the Aggies with 82 yards rushing on 12 carries. Wide receiver Ryan Swope had a game-high 10 catches for 81 yards, while Mike Evans had six grabs for 76 yards.
LSU won the toss and deferred its decision until the second half. The Tigers kicked off away from the open end of the stadium with a south breeze that blew the ball off the tee.
After a touchback, Manziel led the Aggies down the field 75 yards in 12 plays to give the Aggies a lead for a 12-straight game. Manziel completed 4-of-6 passes on the drive and Christine Michael capped the drive with a second-down touchdow run from the 2.
The PAT hit the left upright and Texas A&M led 6-0.
LSU's first drive included a pair of runs by Ware and a third-down pass that was batted down at the line of scrimmage. Brad Wing entered and sailed a punt over the head of the Aggies return man and bounded into the endzone.
Manziel's fast paced offense returned with passes of 9, 10 and 21 yards to the LSU 34. After an injury timeout, a touchdown catch and run was called back by a personal foul. Another 21-yard pass to Evans put Texas A&M in the redzone at the 19, but the drive stalled when LSU brought pressure against the freshman quarterback. Taylor Bertolet made a 32-yard field goal to put Texas A&M ahead 10-0 with 5:41 remaining in the first quarter.
After the 12, 63-yard drive, Texas A&M had a 161-3 advantage in total offense.
LSU gained three first downs and crossed midfield on a perfect throw from Mettenberger to Beckham Jr. for 17 yards. But, two incomplete passes and a sack led to another Wing punt from the LSU 49.
The LSU defense took advantage of three pass breakups and a sack to force the Aggies into their first punt of the game. The 40-yarder from Ryan Epperson was downed at the LSU 6 to put the Tigers in the shadow of its endzone.
Another Tigers three-and-out changed field position in Texas A&M's favor when Wing's 42 yard punt rolled out of bounds at the Aggies 46.
Manziel, who came under increased pressure as the half wore on, managed just one first down and was unable to overcome a false start in LSU territory.
After a touchback on the punt, Mettenberger was hit as he threw on second down and threw behind Russell Shepard on third down. The Tigers moved to 0-for-4 on third down and punted again. Wing's 55-yard effort into the wind pushed Texas A&M back to its 25.
Swope beat cornerback Tharold Simon on a stop-and-go for 27 yards to the LSU 46, and an 11-yard pass to McNeal put Texas A&M in field goal range. A tackle-for-loss by LSU linebacker Deion Jones helped the defense hold off further damage, and Bertolet made a 50-yard field goal with a helping wind to extend the Aggie advantage to 12-0 with 7:24 remaining in the half.
Though LSU gained a first down with a defensive holding penalty, Mettenberger was sacked by untouched linebacker Sean Porter and the Tigers punted from their 36.
On the ensuing possession, the once swift-moving Aggie offense started feeling the heat from LSU's defense once again. On third-and-6 from his 35, Manziel's pass sailed over the head of a receiver - who was also called for offensive pass interference - and was intercepted by LSU cornerback Jalen Collins.
The freshman's first pickoff was returned four yards to the LSU 42, where the Tigers offense earned a first down after pass interference was called on the Aggies in their territory. Rather than attempt a 50-yard field goal into the breeze on fourth-and-1 at the 33, Ware went under center to take the snap, faked a run to the left and pitched to Michael Ford for a 13-yard gain around the end.
Ford took another toss from Mettenberger around the right end for a 20-yard touchdown. With 1:49 remaining in the half, LSU cut the advantage to 12-7.
Rather than sit on the ball and run out the clock, Texas A&M went into its two-minute offense. After five-straight passes, Manziel handed off to Melena who was hit by LSU safety Ronald Martin and fumbled. Barrow came up with the loose ball, putting the Tigers in business at the Aggies 41.
Again on the outside of field goal range, the Tigers converted on fourth-and-2 from the 32 with a 3-yard run by Hill. After a pass into the endzone fell just out of Jarvis Landry's reach, Mettenberger put a little more air under the ball and lofted a perfect pass to Boone who slipped past two defenders for the 29-yard touchdown grab.
With its second-straight touchdown after a turnover, LSU took a 14-12 lead with 11 seconds remaining in the half.
LSU took the ball first and started a string of three-straight punts to open the second half. Wing's 56-yard punt gave Texas A&M possession at its 21 where Malena ran for 16 yards on a third-and-2 draw.
The Tigers defense again took advantage of a Texas A&M mistake, when Manziel's pass deflected off a receiver's shoulder pad, and was intercepted by LSU linebacker Kevin Minter at the LSU 36. After a 4-yard return, LSU took over at its 40.
LSU converted its first third down of the game, a 9-yard pass to James Wright on third-and-7, but couldn't get a second in Aggie territory. After a 5-yard penalty, Drew Alleman's 54-yard field goal attempt sailed to the right with the wind to end the drive.
Texas A&M again gained one first down before consecutive incomplete passes to Swope led to a punt. Beckham Jr. was flagged for delay of game after a fair catch signal, and the Tigers started at the 6.
The negative field position was too much to overcome and Wing punted 37 yards to the LSU 48. A 13-yard pass from Manziel to Swope moved the Aggies into field goal range at the LSU 35. A 4-yard tackle for loss by LSU defensive tackle Anthony Johnson forced a 52-yard field goal attempt that had the distance but was missed to the right.
The miscue by the Aggies allowed LSU's offense to get back in gear. LSU wore down the Texas A&M defensive line with its running attack, but two "Wildcat" runs with Ware under center netted 1 yard and the Tigers settled for a 28-yard field goal by Alleman.
The Tigers led 17-12 with 8:35 remaining after the 12-play, 55-yard drive.
A 76-yard kickoff return to the LSU 16 by Texas A&M's Trey Williams shifted the momentum back to the Aggies mometarily, but Manziel was heckled by the Tiger defense and unable to gain a first down. Bertolet compounded the problem by pulling another field goal to the right, this one from 31 yards.
Two series later, an interception by Simon led to Hill's 47-yard touchdown run on LSU's first play from scrimmage.
Texas A&M rallied to score with 77 seconds remaining but was unable to get an onside kick.
The announced crowd of 87,429 was the fifth-largest crowd in Kyle Field history.
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