Place: Kyle Field, College Station, Texas
The notion that offense sells tickets but defense wins championships will be put to the test Saturday when sixth-ranked LSU takes its stiff defense into Kyle Field to face No. 19 Texas A&M and its explosive offense.
Freshman quarterback Johnny Manziel has led the Aggies to an SEC-best 47 points and 543.7 total yards per game but will be tested by LSU’s dominant defense.
The Tigers rank second in the conference in total defense (219.6) and fourth in scoring defense (14.0). The longtime border rivals played an annual home-and-home series from 1986-95 but have met only once since — in the 2011 Cotton Bowl, which LSU won 41-24.
The Tigers lead the series 27-20-3, but the Aggies have won the past five regular-season contests. LSU is 1-7-1 all-time in College Station with the lone win coming in 1987.
LSU Tigers (6-1, 2-1 SEC): The Tigers are set to face their third consecutive ranked opponent after a 14-6 loss at Florida and a 23-21 home win over South Carolina.
With two more ranked opponents looming after next week’s open date, the Tigers have no margin for error to stay in the SEC and national title pictures. LSU put together its best offensive showing of the year with 406 total yards (258 rushing) against the Gamecocks, but the Tigers have scored a total of 18 points in two road games.
Texas A&M Aggies (5-1, 2-1 SEC): If not for squandering a 10-point lead against Florida in their season opener, the Aggies likely would be in the top 10.
They still control their destiny in the SEC West, but they must win their next three games to maintain that leverage going into a road game at Alabama on Nov. 10. Manziel has been the catalyst, averaging 112.7 rushing yards and 280 passing yards. His 392 total yards per game is more than 47 FBS teams.
1. LSU is 30-2 under coach Les Miles when a running back reaches the 100-yard mark. Jeremy Hill had 124 rushing yards last week, making him the third different back to go over 100 for LSU this season.
2. Texas A&M’s last win over a top-10 team came against No. 9 Nebraska at Kyle Field in 2010.
3. The Aggies are one of only two FBS teams that rank in the top 20 in rushing (13th), passing (20th), total offense (sixth) and scoring (fifth) offense, along with Oklahoma State.