If this really was Ed Orgeron’s final act as LSU head coach, it’s safe to say the ol’ Cajun ball coach went out with a bang.
The Tigers demolished Texas A&M 54-39 on Thanksgiving night – a fairly lopsided game that wasn’t nearly as close as the final score would indicate.
LSU gained 622 yards in the win, gashing the Aggies both on the ground and through the air.
After the game, players gave Orgeron a Gatorade shower.
In the locker room, they danced, while chanting, “Keep Coach O.”
No one yet knows if Orgeron is in the team’s future plans – especially amidst ESPN reports that the Tigers have zeroed in on Houston coach Tom Herman to lead the program into the future.
Orgeron said he hasn’t yet spoken to LSU Athletic Director Joe Alleva about the permanent gig, adding that he’s living “day-by-day.”
And on this day, the Tigers won a huge ballgame over a big-time rival.
“This was a great night,” Orgeron said. “This was a great win for our football team. … We wanted to finish the season strong, and we did. I’m proud and happy of the kids for a solid effort.”
LSU’s offense was absolutely dynamite on Thurday night.
The Tigers did everything they wanted to do in the game, gashing the Aggies with ease – both through the air and on the ground.
Unlike last week when the Tigers gained yards without scoring points, this week, LSU finished drives with ease in the red zone.
The Tigers struck first – a 45-yard touchdown run from Derrius Guice on the first drive of the game to go up 7-0.
Guice was a monster in the win. He set the single-game LSU rushing record with 285 yards rushing on the day.
The Aggies answered LSU’s score with one of their own – a 36-yard touchdown reception from receiver Christian Kirk to tie the game at 7 midway through the first quarter.
But the rest of the half belonged to LSU.
The Tigers scored 13-unanswered points to take a 20-7 halftime lead – first from consecutive field goals from Colby Delahoussaye and then from a 20-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Danny Etling to Malachi Dupre.
Like Guice, Etling also had his best game of the season in the win. He completed 20-of-28 passes for 324 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions.
Orgeron credited the Tigers successes to offensive coordinator Steve Ensminger, who Orgeron said “never went home” this past week after LSU lost to Florida.
“He made some tremendous calls – just unbelievable,” Orgeron said. “He’s a true Tiger.”
The second half story was similar to the first – with LSU doing literally everything it wanted to do offensively.
The Tigers scored touchdowns on their first five drives of the second half, ballooning the lead up to as many as 41-17 at one point in the game.
The Aggies battled back and made it respectable, thanks to some prolific offense of their own.
But they never could get the stop needed to inch closer on the scoreboard.
“We couldn’t get off the field,” Aggies coach Kevin Sumlin said. “We couldn’t limit what they were doing offensively.”
With the win, the Tigers close the regular season with a 7-4 record and a 5-3 mark in SEC play.
All four losses were against highly ranked opponents and all were by 10 points or fewer.
After the game Orgeron refused to comment about whether he had a meeting with Alleva planned or if he was going to talk to the Tigers AD in the near future.
But video cameras did capture Orgeron telling the team in the locker room that they have one more game, and that he wants the Tigers to stay focused on the task at hand.
“It’s one day at a time right now,” Orgeron said with a smile, then a wink. “Tomorrow, we’re going to wake up and go to work – just like we’d do any other day.”
Photo: LSU vs. Southern Miss by Sean Gasser.