Halftime analysis: LSU 28, Texas A&M 17

January, 7, 2011
1/07/11
10:14
PM ET
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Well, that's not at all what most expected. I pegged this game for a 20-17 final (in favor of the Aggies), and we've already surpassed that point total in the first half.

Here's some instant analysis:

Turning point: The opening kickoff. Texas A&M's Coryell Judie returned it 69 yards to the LSU 31-yard line, and firmly established the Aggies as the dominant team early.

Turning point II: Jordan Jefferson's deep ball to Terrence Toliver. That brought the Tigers to within three and confirmed that we were in for a ball game. And when Jefferson is throwing perfect strikes 50 yards downfield for touchdowns, you know it's going to be a high-scoring day.

Stat of the half: LSU has 187 rushing yards. The Tigers have consistently run the ball for the first 30 minutes, and the Aggies will be without leading tackler Michael Hodges for the rest of the game with a right knee injury. That won't help matters, but Texas A&M can't win if they give up another 187 on the ground in the second half.

Best player in the half: LSU's offensive line. The big guys up front haven't been fantastic pass blockers for the first half, letting Jefferson take a handful of big hits, but they're the ones to thank for the dominance in the running game.

What Texas A&M needs to do: First off, Ryan Tannehill has to quit turning the ball over. His first interception was poor communication; Uzoma Nwachukwu curled off an option route and Tannehill tossed a ball for the fly route. His second was a bad throw behind his receiver and a bad decision into double coverage that resulted in seven points for the Tigers.

Outside of the turnovers, Texas A&M has had good balance offensively, but defensively, it's as simple as stopping the run. More difficult is figuring out how to do it with Hodges sidelined.

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