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Texas A&M mistake-prone in 19-7 loss to emotional LSU team playing for its coach


BATON ROUGE, Louisiana — Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin is still trying to figure out how to beat LSU.

Not even the addition of former Tigers defensive coordinator John Chavis to the Aggies' coaching staff has helped.

The Aggies turned the ball over three times, Chavis' unit allowed the Tigers to gain 244 yards on the ground, and Texas A&M dropped its regular-season finale, 19-7 on Saturday night.

"We didn't play very smart tonight," said Sumlin, who dropped to 0-4 against LSU since the Aggies joined the Southeastern Conference in 2012. "In a game like that, with the emotion of senior night and everything that's going on here, you can't make mistakes we made tonight and expect to win."

Indeed, it was emotional victory for the Tigers, who carried Les Miles across the field on their shoulders after more than a week of intense speculation that their coach could soon be out of a job. As it turns out, Miles is staying, and his result against the Aggies probably didn't hurt.

Leonard Fournette ran for 159 yards and a touchdown, while Derrius Guice had a 50-yard scoring run for LSU.

Guice had 73 yards rushing and also had a 75-yard kickoff return for LSU (8-3, 5-3 Southeastern Conference), which ended a three-game skid that had raised questions about Miles' job security. LSU's administration had declined to comment on Miles' status, fueling speculation that his days roaming Death Valley's home sideline were about to end after 11 seasons.

As the game ended, fans chanted, "Keep Les Miles! Keep Les Miles!"

And they got their wish when athletic director Joe Alleva announced after the game that Miles would remain.

Kyle Allen passed for 161 yards and one touchdown for the Aggies (8-4, 4-4), but had a pass intercepted by Donte Jackson inside the final 2 minutes, all but sealing LSU's victory.

PHOTO: LSU running back Leonard Fournette (7) is tackled by Texas A&M defensive back Armani Watts during the first half an NCAA college football game in Baton Rouge, La., Saturday, Nov. 28, 2015. (AP Photo/Jonathan Bachman)
LSU running back Leonard Fournette (7) is tackled by Texas A&M defensive back Armani Watts during the first half an NCAA college football game in Baton Rouge, La., Saturday, Nov. 28, 2015. (AP Photo/Jonathan Bachman)

Fournette finished the game owning LSU's single-season rushing record at 1,741 yards, surpassing the mark of 1,686 yards set by Charles Alexander in 1977.

Miles called the game "an imperfect fist fight," and credited Fournette for making the difference.

Fournette carried seven times for 45 yards on LSU's final scoring drive, including the star running back's 4-yard touchdown with 2:50 to go.

"He's a great player," defensive lineman Miles Garrett said. "He is going to find holes and adjust. That's what you have to do if you want to be good in this league. You have to adjust and adapt to situations."

Inside Death Valley before kickoff, the crowd roared when Miles was introduced during Senior Day ceremonies. The coach tipped his trademark baseball cap to acknowledge the crowd, raising the volume a little more. As the clock wound down, fans serenaded the coach by chanting his name.

LSU QB Brandon Harris was 7 of 21 for 83 yards, no touchdowns and an interception. Most of his receptions came on check downs to running backs, including a critical third-down swing pass to Fournette for a 17-yard gain that sustained the Tigers' final scoring drive.

It didn't help that kicker Trent Domingue, who'd missed only one field goal all season coming in, missed three against the Aggies. However, one of the field goals he made came after Christian Kirk's fumbled kickoff return in the first quarter.

When the Tigers finally produced a big play to take a 13-7 lead, it came on Guice's long run.

The Aggies, who led 7-6 at halftime, scored their lone TD on Allen's 8-yard, third-down pass over the middle to Ricky Seals-Jones.

Texas A&M squandered a chance to widen its lead when Allen was sacked and stripped by Kendell Beckwith on the LSU 13, with the Tigers' Devon Godchaux recovering.

"This one is really tough," offensive lineman German Ifedi said. "It's a feeling throughout the whole locker room that we let one slip away."

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