theknightswhosay

Rivalry Series: LSU vs. Texas A&M

In College Football, Rivalry on January 6, 2011 at 7:20 PM

Recent games
2010 (Cotton Bowl) LSU 41, Texas A&M 24
2012 LSU 24, @Texas A&M 19
2013 @LSU 34, Texas A&M 10
2014 LSU 23, @Texas A&M 16
2015 @LSU 19, Texas A&M 7
2016: LSU 54, @Texas A&M 39

Unofficial promotional t-shirt for 2012 game

2011 New Year’s post

UPDATED RECORDS (after 2016 game)
LSU leads, 31-20-3
(The first game was in 1899, in LSU’s seventh “season” and only the second of more than three games.)

There are a few different ways of looking at the records by location:
In Baton Rouge, LSU leads, 24-10-1.
In Louisiana (the 1908 game was played in New Orleans), LSU leads, 25-10-1.
In College Station, Texas A&M leads, 7-4-1 (LSU’s one win before the Aggies joined the SEC was in 1987, in what had been their first visit since 1922).
In Dallas (1914, 1955, and 2010), Texas A&M leads, 2-1.
In other cities in Texas (Houston, Galveston, and San Antonio; from 1913 to 1917), the teams are tied, 1-1-1.
Overall in Texas, Texas A&M leads, 10-6-2, but has lost four in a row.
In bowl games (The Jan. 1944 Orange Bowl and Jan. 2011 Cotton Bowl), LSU leads, 2-0.

In the Cotton Bowl overall, LSU is 3-1-1.
LSU handed the Aggies the sixth straight loss in Cotton Bowls in which A&M has played, and dropped them to is 4-8 overall. Texas A&M has since improved its record with the win over Oklahoma after the 2012 season. (This italicized section is not updated.)

GAME FACTS
Largest margin of victory—54, by Texas A&M, 1914 (in Dallas)
Largest LSU margin of victory—37, 1971 (Baton Rouge)…also LSU’s
Largest shutout win—46, by Texas A&M, 1922 (College Station)
Longest winning streak—6 games, LSU, 1960-1965 and 2010-2016
Longest A&M winning streak—5 games, 1991-1995
Longest unbeaten streak—LSU, 10 games (9-0-1), 1960-1969

Highest-scoring games:
2016: LSU 54, Texas A&M 39
1914: Texas A&M 63, LSU 9
2010 (Cotton Bowl played in Jan. 2011): LSU 41, Texas A&M 24
1972: LSU 42, Texas A&M 17
1992: Texas A&M 31, LSU 22

Going into the 2010 game, Texas A&M was still LSU’s 9th most commonly-played opponent. Florida, Kentucky, and Arkansas had all passed up the Aggies since that last regularly-scheduled LSU-Texas A&M game in 1995. They won’t gain any ground on the other two, but they will probably pass up Kentucky again if the current alignment continues.

LSU is Texas A&M’s 8th most commonly-played opponent, and this has not changed. LSU is ahead of only one SWC team, Houston, but is the only non-SWC program ahead of Houston. Oklahoma and Oklahoma St. are the only two other programs to have played the Aggies 20 times or more (at least as major teams).

SERIES SUMMARY

LSU’s success in the series corresponded with the Tigers becoming a consistently strong program, beginning after World War II. When the series took a break (there was a gap in the series between 1923 and 1942), Texas A&M led, 7-3-2.

LSU was strong in some of the years before World War I (going 1-0-1 in the series from 1908-1913) and in the 1930s (no games against A&M at all). From 1914 to 1921, the series was tied 2-2-1. The Tigers had some declining years in the early to middle 1920s, so the Texas Aggies (as a side note, LSU is an A&M school too) won the last two games of that installment of the series. LSU had no wins against current SEC teams in either of those two years and did not win any such games until defeating Auburn in 1926.

The rivalry went back and forth when it was renewed in the early 1940s, but LSU would win every year from 1945 to 1949. There was a home and home in 1955 and 1956, both games Texas A&M wins (with Bear Bryant as head coach), but by the time the rivalry became a semi-permanent fixture in 1960, LSU had one of its strongest periods in history, and Texas A&M had only one winning season between 1960 and 1973. LSU failed to win only two of those games. To be fair, they were all played in Baton Rouge, but that likely had something to do with the disparity between the teams. Texas A&M had good years in 1974 and 1975 while LSU was mediocre, so the Aggies won those two, but then the series ended until 1986.

The ten-year run from 1986 to 1995 was back to a home-and-home format. LSU won 4 of the first 5 games in this set to take a 26-15-3 series lead. But then Curley Hallman, the worst coach of more than 10 games in LSU history, took over and went 0-4 against the Aggies. Four consecutive double-digit-win seasons by Texas A&M didn’t hurt their cause either. In Gerry DiNardo’s first game as LSU head coach, his team traveled to College Station to face an A&M team that had gone undefeated the year before, so not surprisingly, the Tigers lost. So that’s why the LSU lead is still smaller than it used to be.

The intervening 17 years were better for LSU than they were for Texas A&M, and despite the emergence of “Johnny Football,” LSU has won its first two games against the Aggies as SEC rivals, holding A&M to below 20 points in each game. The Aggies actually scored more points in the Cotton Bowl against LSU after the 2010 season than in either game. The 10 points scored in 2013 is the fewest A&M has scored against LSU since 1990.

The rivalry was also interesting over the years because of the fertile recruiting ground between Texas A&M and LSU. East Texas and Louisiana have supplied a much higher percentage of major-college and NFL talent than their population would warrant; and this is true over decades, not just recently.

LSU went to no bowl games from 1989 to 1994 (inclusive), and their improvements as a program since the first game of 1995 (bowl games in all but two seasons, a minimum of 8 wins ever year since 2000) obviously were not reflected. Certainly, there were some potentially interesting games that the cessation of the series caused us as fans to miss.

A&M COACHES

That’s what I had to say by way of general series summary, but it seems like a more interesting story to me if you place Texas A&M in the context of rivalries with the following three former Aggie coaches (LSU scarcely went a year from 1949 to 2003 without facing one or more of these coaches), although much of the story is away from Texas A&M:

Jackie Sherrill
Texas A&M vs. LSU (1982-1988), 0-3
Mississippi St. vs. LSU (1991-2003), 2-11

In Sherrill’s last three seasons at Texas A&M, the Aggies won 9 games, 10 games, and 7 games, respectively. But he couldn’t quite beat LSU, and only came within two touchdowns in his one game against the Tigers in College Station in 1987. LSU won 9 games, 10 games, and 8 games, respectively, so talent-wise, maybe it should have been closer. One of Sherrill’s best years was the SWC Championship team in 1985 (losses only to Alabama and Baylor), and the Aggies would win the Cotton Bowl over Auburn, but they did not play LSU that season.

Sherrill defeated LSU for the first time when he faced them as head coach of Mississippi St. in 1991, and it was in Tiger Stadium no less. But things mostly went downhill from there.

LSU’s one loss in the last 19 games was by 1 point at MSU in 1999. MSU would finish 10-2, while LSU would finish 3-8.

Although it is not surprising that LSU has dominated Mississippi St. for the last 10 seasons, it was strange how the recent run against the Bulldogs began.

LSU would only win 2 games in 1992, Jackie Sherrill’s second season with the Bulldogs, but they beat #20 Miss. St., 24-3. Mississippi St. finished 7-5 that season after a loss to North Carolina in the Peach Bowl. The LSU loss was only one of two they suffered before Nov. 14. Sherrill would only defeat the Tigers in his first season (1991 in Baton Rouge) and 1999 in Starkville, when LSU was going through an 8-game losing streak that was only broken after coach Gerry DiNardo was fired before the last game of the season against Arkansas.

Although LSU would finish only 5-6 in 1993 and the game was in Starkville, the Tigers won on a last-second field goal by Andre LaFleur, 18-16. Miss. St. would only finish 3-6-2 though.

Miss. St. would finish 8-4 the following year, once again losing the Peach Bowl, and LSU would finish 4-7, but once again, that didn’t stop LSU from winning, 44-24 this time.

1998 was the Bulldogs’ only appearance in the SEC Championship and LSU would again finish 4-7, but the Tigers beat the #24 Bulldogs, 41-6. It would be the last conference win for DiNardo.

Gene Stallings
Texas A&M vs. LSU (1965-71), 1-5-1
Alabama vs. LSU (1990-96), 6-1

The aforementioned Curley Hallman’s biggest win as LSU head coach was over Alabama in 1993 (in terms of winning percentage, he was easily the worst LSU head coach of more than 10 games in history). LSU was the first team to beat Alabama after the Tide’s 1992 national championship, putting an end to a 30-game undefeated streak. Hallman was an assistant at Alabama for Bryant after playing at Texas A&M under Gene Stallings, who was Alabama’s coach in 1993.

As head coach of Southern Mississippi, Hallman also defeated Stallings in 1990.

LSU had also come close to a huge upset in 1991. The Tigers would finish with a losing record and Alabama would finish 11-1, but Bama only won 20-17 at Tiger Stadium. The only other game that was close (decided by fewer than eighteen) in the Stallings era was in 1995 when the Tide won 10-3 in Tuscaloosa.

Stallings’ one win against LSU while at A&M was one of only two wins in 1970, the other against Wichita St. (which stopped having a football team in 1986), in a year in which LSU would win the SEC outright. The Tigers have not gone unbeaten in the SEC since (this changed, at least nominally, with the 2011 season… LSU won all 8 regularly scheduled SEC games as well as the conference championship but lost to an SEC team, Alabama, in the postseason). All contests against the Tigers during Stallings’ time in College Station were played in Baton Rouge. Stallings had only one winning record in his seven seasons with the Aggies, beating Alabama in the Cotton Bowl after the 1967 season (Curley Hallman grabbed two Ken Stabler interceptions in that game). LSU, who eventually won the Sugar Bowl that year, beat the Aggies, 17-6. The tie took place in 1966, in unremarkable 5-4-1 and 4-5-1 respective seasons, except it was remarkable in the fact that it was LSU’s worst season between 1961 and 1980.

Bear Bryant
Kentucky vs. LSU (1946-53), 2-1-1
Texas A&M vs. LSU (1954-57), 2-0
Alabama vs. LSU (1958-82), 16-4

For his career, he was 20-5-1 against the Tigers with a total of 6 shutouts.

The head coach of Kentucky the first time the Wildcats played LSU was none other than Bear Bryant, who always seemed to give the Tigers trouble. His teams shut out the Tigers the first two times he faced them, before LSU beat Kentucky in his second-to-last season there and tied them in his last. LSU-Kentucky was a yearly rivalry from that time until 2003, after the SEC decided on one permanent inter-division rivalry per team.

His success in the LSU-Alabama series is despite the fact that he lost to the Tigers, 13-3, at Mobile in 1958, his first season at Alabama. LSU won the national championship that year, and the Tide finished 5-4-1 and only 3-4-1 in conference. Still, it was a vast improvement over the previous three years, in which Bama had only won four games combined.

To go back to LSU coaches for a second, the 1958 win was the second in a row over Alabama for LSU coach Paul Dietzel. The next LSU coach to beat Alabama two years in a row would be Nick Saban in 2000 and 2001. Dietzel did not lose to Alabama, but he did not face the Tide (at least not with LSU) after that 1958 game.

The Tide would win a national championship of its own in 1961, but wouldn’t be able to return the favor against the Tigers until 1964, a 10-1 season in which Alabama won the polls but lost the bowl game. Alabama, LSU, and Ole Miss were unofficial national co-champions in 1962, when USC won the major polls as well as the vast majority of other ranking systems for its first national championship. 1962 was LSU’s last claim to a national championship, recognized by the NCAA anyway, until 2003; but Alabama would get several and beat LSU often for the remainder of its contests against them under Bryant. LSU’s only subsequent wins over Bear Bryant were 1969, 1970, and 1982.

Despite his claim that playing at Tiger Stadium was like playing inside a drum, he was 10-1-1 there overall and 8-1 with the Tide. LSU was 3-8 against Bryant in the state of Alabama.

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