COLLEGE STATION, Texas (AP) — When Leonard Fournette barreled over a Texas A&M defender and scored in the second quarter, the Aggies had to know it was going to be a long night.
But that was only the start of a big game for the LSU freshman.
Fournette ran for a career-high 146 yards and a touchdown, and Jalen Collins had a late interception to seal LSU’s 23-17 win Thursday night.
Fournette’s highlight-reel play gave the Tigers their first points since an overtime loss to Alabama on Nov. 8. 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.
LSU coach Les Miles knows exactly what he’d do if the 230-pound Fournette was ever heading toward him.
“I would get out of the way,” Miles said.
Fournette shrugged off his big play, saying it was a normal run.
“Coach kept telling us if you have one person free, make them miss,” he said. “I tried to my best ability to make them miss.”
Fournette bounced back from a tough game — he had five carries for just nine yards in a loss to Arkansas.
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.
Coach Kevin Sumlin said Allen did exactly what he is coached to do on that play.
“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.”
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 as the Tigers piled up 384 yards on the ground, their most against an SEC team since 1997. Jennings also threw for 107 yards and a touchdown.
His yards rushing were the most for an LSU quarterback since 2010.
“We put it in the game plan for me to have a couple of runs,” Jennings said. “The offensive line did a great job of run blocking and I just followed those guys.”
The Tigers led by 10 at halftime and added two field goals in the second 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.
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 extended their 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.
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