For weeks, the LSU defense has been under scrutiny by both fans and national media alike. That narrative may have changed as LSU (12-0, 8-0 SEC) beat Texas A&M (7-5, 4-4 SEC) 50-7 in Tiger Stadium.
On Saturday night, the LSU defense was a dominant force, holding Texas A&M to 169 total yards on 60 plays. The Aggies finished with 72 rushing yards and 97 passing yards. Texas A&M quarterback Kellen Mond was sacked five times and his replacement, James Foster, was sacked once, giving the defense a total of six on the night. The defense also forced three turnovers, all interceptions.
“I thought we rushed the passer very well,” said LSU coach Ed Orgeron. “We put pressure on the quarterback and did not allow them to beat us one-on-one. It was just an overall tremendous night.”
The defensive effort was led by sophomore linebacker K’Lavon Chaisson, who finished with six total tackles and 1.5 sacks. Junior defensive back Kary Vincent was also crucial to the defensive success, adding four total tackles and an interception. The other two interceptions were made by junior safeties JaCoby Stevens and Grant Delpit.
Along with the six sacks, LSU also had five quarterback hits along with eight tackles for loss. Chaisson said he thinks it was the most he rushed all year. He added that when he rushes, he feels LSU usually gets pressure.
One of the biggest reasons LSU was placed behind Ohio State in the College Football Playoff rankings was because of its defense and the questions surrounding the unit. Many of the defensive players for the Tigers felt like they needed to make a statement to the committee. Many agreed that they thought that statement was made on Saturday night, including Stevens.
“We as a defense took the rankings as a challenge.” Stevens said. “We knew we had to play a complete game and I feel like we did that today. We did a great job defensively, I think.”
Another big key for LSU’s defensive efficiency was holding Texas A&M to 2-for-13 on third-down conversions. They also held the Aggies to 1-for-3 on fourth-down conversions.
LSU will face Georgia next in the SEC Championship Game in Atlanta on Saturday at 2:30 pm.