COLLEGE STATION, Texas – Kevin Sumlin coaches his Texas A&M team to snap the ball and quickly run a play if it sees a defender jump offside.
The Aggies did exactly that Thursday night. Problem was, the officials ruled there was no infraction and A&M ended up making a big mistake.
Leonard Fournette ran for a career-high 146 yards and a touchdown, barreling over a Texas A&M defender to score, and Jalen Collins had a late interception to seal LSU's 23-17 win.
Texas A&M was driving late when Kyle Allen threw an ill-advised pass, thinking the Tigers had jumped offside. Collins grabbed the ball, ending the Aggies' last chance.
"That's part of what we do," Sumlin said. "When we have someone in the neutral zone our center snaps it and we have a free play. We try to take advantage of that."
Allen isn't allowed to talk to the media because he's a freshman, but offensive lineman Cedric Ogbuehi talked about the quarterback's mindset on the play.
"Kyle thought free play," Ogbuehi said. "So he threw it up and the refs didn't call it."
The victory gave LSU (8-4, 4-4 SEC) eight wins for the 15th straight season, the longest streak in school history. The Tigers have won four in a row over Texas A&M (7-5, 3-5).
LSU quarterback Anthony Jennings had a career-best 119 yards rushing. He also threw for 107 yards and a touchdown.
"They run the ball well," Texas A&M cornerback Deshazor Everett said. "They're coached well up front and they run the ball hard. There were just mistakes here and there and game planning. Great play-calling on their side."
The Tigers led by 10 at halftime and added two field goals in the second half.
Fournette made a highlight-reel play in the second quarter. He gave LSU its first points since an overtime loss to Alabama on Nov. 8 when he ducked his head and plowed over Howard Matthews on a 22-yard touchdown run that tied it at 7 with 4:33 left in the first half.
Allen was 17 of 27 for 144 yards with one touchdown and one interception. Trey Williams had 62 yards rushing and a score for Texas A&M.
"In the second half we were more efficient offensively," Sumlin said. "We had to be, because we weren't very good in the first half."
The Aggies were playing on Thanksgiving for the first time since 2011, when their yearly matchup with Texas ended with their move to the SEC from the Big 12. It was the first game on the holiday for LSU since 1983.
Aggies freshman Speedy Noil jumped and grabbed the ball off a defender's helmet for a nifty 27-yard touchdown reception that pulled A&M to 20-17 with 6:42 left.
Colby Delahoussaye's 43-yard field goal pushed the lead to 23-17 with 2:07 to play.
The Aggies had a third-and-23 late in the third quarter when Collins was called for pass interference, giving them a first down at the LSU 20. A&M's offense stalled after that and the Aggies settled for a 34-yard field goal to cut the lead to 20-10 early in the fourth.
The Tigers pushed the lead to 20-7 with a 27-yard field goal in the third quarter.
Delahoussaye missed a 22-yard field goal try in the first quarter and Trent Domingue kicked for most of the game until Delahoussaye connected late.
Domingue's 39-yard attempt with less than 10 minutes remaining was wide right.
The game was tied at 7 when Jennings found John Diarse wide open in the end zone for a 10-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter.
Noil fumbled the ensuing kickoff and it was recovered by Duke Riley, giving LSU the ball at the Texas A&M 19.
Texas A&M's Armani Watts was ejected for targeting after a hit on Malachi Dupre, leaving the ball at the 9. But LSU settled for a 31-yard field goal by Domingue to make it 17-7 at halftime.
The Aggies took a 7-0 lead in the first quarter when Williams ran untouched for a 41-yard touchdown. That score was set up by an interception by De'Vante Harris three plays earlier.
Aside from that drive, Texas A&M couldn't do much offensively in the first half and had just two first downs and 23 yards passing at halftime.