LSU Tigers vs Texas A&M Aggies
Friday, 1/7/11, 8:00 PM EDT, TV: FOX
Opening Point Spread: LSU PK
Current Betting Line: LSU -2
Opening Total: 49
Current Total: 49
LSU renews its rivalry with Texas A&M when the teams meet in the 75th annual AT&T Cotton Bowl at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas. The Tigers only losses came at then No. 5 Auburn and at then No. 12 Arkansas. “We are very excited about going to Dallas,” said director of athletics Joe Alleva. “Once it looked like we were out of the running for a BCS bowl game, we turned our attention to this game.” Tonight’s game will be the first meeting between these two schools since the season-opener in 1995 when the Aggies beat the Tigers, 33-17, in College Station. The team is coming off a 31-23 loss to the Razorbacks, which is significant considering coach Les Miles is 15-1 following a loss while at LSU and the squad has lost back-to-back games just one time in six years under him. The Tigers are also a dominating 27-1 under Miles in non-conference games with the only loss coming against Penn State in last year’s Capital One Bowl. LSU is 8-15 ATS as a favorite and 7-13 ATS when playing against a team with a winning record over the last three years.
The Tigers have outscored opponents 1,068-289 in their 28 non-conference games under Miles since he took over in 2005. Offensively, LSU is averaging 28.8 points and 332.6 total yards per game. The team has rushed for 100 yards as a team in all 12 games this year. Running back Stevan Ridley leads the Tigers and ranks fourth in the SEC with 1,042 yards and 14 touchdowns. Junior quarterback Jordan Jefferson will also become the first player in program history to start three straight bowl games at quarterback since Tommy Hodson in 1986-88. He has compiled a 19-7 record as a starter for the squad. LSU is 4-2 versus Top 25 teams this season and 22-13 against ranked opponents the last six seasons. On the defensive side of the ball, the team is ranked in the top 10 in the nation in three defensive categories – total defense (301.6 ypg), scoring defense (17.8 ppg) and pass defense (165.8 ypg).
Texas A&M will take part in its 32nd bowl game and compiled a 13-18 record in its previous 31 bowl encounters. The Aggies have faced LSU once previously in a bowl game with the Tigers handing the Aggies a 19-14 defeat at the 1944 Orange Bowl. The team brings in a six-game winning streak into the Cotton Bowl. “We have played one of the toughest schedules in the country and it is appropriate we will face a great challenge from a quality LSU program,” director of athletics Bill Byrne said. “It should make for one of the best matchups in the bowl season.” Some of the team’s biggest stars will be inspired by playing a bowl game in the Dallas metroplex, since 13 players on the two-deep are from the area. Texas A&M is 6-11 ATS as an underdog.
The Aggies have shown the ability to comeback in games all season long, rallying from two-touchdown deficits in three contests this season. Texas A&M has also rallied behind Ryan Tannehill being installed as the starting quarterback after the team benched signal caller Jerrod Johnson following a 3-3 start. He completed 65.1 percent of his passes for 1,409 yards with 11 touchdowns and three interceptions over the final six games. Running back Cyrus Gray is a dynamic playmaker and finished the season with six consecutive 100-yard games and ran for 223 yards in a 24-17 win over Texas in the regular-season finale on November 25.
Bettors will be interested in knowing that the Tigers are 1-4 ATS as a favorite, while the Aggies are 0-5-1 ATS versus the SEC