BATON ROUGE, La. -- Few in or around Tiger Stadium seemed to know whether Saturday was Les Miles' final night as LSU's coach. But if it was, his team carried him off the field as a winner.
With a rousing ovation before the game that continued during the team's march into the stadium, LSU fans expressed their love for Miles. The coach -- with assists from running backs Leonard Fournette and Derrius Guice and a stellar performance by the defense -- sent them home to celebrate the Tigers' first win in four games, using a 19-7 victory over Texas A&M to snap a three-game slide that helped fuel the speculation over Miles' job status.
An announcement on Miles' future could come soon, but for now, the Tigers finished the regular season at 8-3 (5-3 SEC) with a bowl game on the horizon. Whether Miles coaches in that game is still a matter of conjecture.
Let's recap the Tigers' victory:
What the win means for LSU: We'll have to see. Was this enough to save Miles' job? Maybe. The Tigers were clearly the more gifted team Saturday, but the unforced errors that dotted their recent losing streak were still there. Nevertheless, the Tigers steadily pulled away in the second half and completed arguably the rockiest game week in Miles' 11 seasons with a victory. Credit the Tigers' coach for somehow leading his team to a win while dealing with incredibly distracting circumstances.
What the loss means for Texas A&M: Kevin Sumlin's Aggies (8-4, 4-4) hung tough all night, repeatedly forcing the Tigers into converting field goal tries after they pushed into A&M territory. That continued the notable turnaround on defense led by John Chavis, a longtime LSU defensive coordinator who jumped to A&M after last season. However, the Aggies' offense struggled to sustain drives for most of the night. Quarterback Kyle Allen (15-for-28, 161 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT) connected with Josh Reynolds on a beautiful 47-yard pass to set up a first-quarter touchdown, but the Aggies were unable to accomplish much on offense.
Stat of the game: Fournette needed 105 rushing yards to break Charles Alexander's single-season LSU record (1,686 yards, set in 1977). Fournette reached that mark in the third quarter and finished Saturday with 159 yards, giving him 1,741 this season. That's the sixth-best total in SEC history, trailing only Herschel Walker (twice), Darren McFadden, Tre Mason and Bo Jackson. And Fournette still has another game to play.
Shortly after Fournette broke his record, Alexander tweeted congratulations to the Tigers' sophomore star.
Top play: Guice, a freshman, tried to do it all himself in the third quarter. He opened the second half with a tackle-breaking, 75-yard kickoff return, only to have the Tigers' sputtering offense stall and miss a third consecutive field goal attempt. But Guice capped the next possession with a 50-yard scoring run, giving the Tigers their first TD of the night and a 13-7 lead.