ROUGE, La. - Les Miles rode across the Tiger Stadium
field on the shoulders of his players while fans
chanted his name.
would have been quite a send-off, except LSU's
administration doesn't want him going anywhere after
after LSU closed out the regular season with a 19-7
victory over Texas A&M, athletic director Joe
Alleva said Miles will remain the Tigers' coach. The
announcement capped more than a week of speculation
that Miles was on the verge of losing his job after
his first three-game winning streak in his 11 years at
looking forward to working with Coach Miles as he
leads this team to a bowl game and another great
recruiting class," Alleva said as Miles' wife,
Kathy, and their four children looked on. "Les
and I have talked. We have talked about this program
and we are committed together to working to win and
compete at the highest level."
administration had allowed speculation about Miles'
status to fester by refusing to comment on the matter
last week, but Alleva stressed that he was only
following his policy of waiting until after the season
to comment on a coach's future.
Miles said he did not know for sure whether he'd just
coached his last game on the home sideline of Death
Valley until after the game. He said LSU President F.
King Alexander informed him first, followed by Alleva.
a talented football team. We seemed to undershoot our
mark this year," Miles said. "I agree with
Joe. Winning championships is something Joe wants to
work toward fully and I'm right with him. It's not
enough to win occasionally. You have to win all the
time. I get that."
players didn't find out until word began circulating
about Alleva's announcement. Tigers senior right
tackle Vadal Alexander said he found out when he got a
text from his parents and just smiled.
over Texas A&M (8-4, 4-4) did not come easily for
the Tigers (8-3, 5-3), who trailed until Derrius
Guice's 50-yard scoring run in the third quarter.
Fournette ran for 159 yards and a touchdown. He
finished the game owning LSU's single-season rushing
record at 1,741 yards, surpassing the mark of 1,686
yards set by Charles Alexander in 1977.
has been hard, not just with (speculation about) coach
Miles, but with us having lost the last three
games," Fournette said. "These last three
weeks will help this team grow and help us grow in
life. I can say this has been one of the longest three
weeks in my life. It was hard for everybody."
Allen passed for 161 yards and one touchdown for the
Aggies, but had a pass intercepted by Donte Jackson
inside the final 2 minutes, all but sealing LSU's
coach Kevin Sumlin said his team's turnovers and
problems protecting Allen tipped the game in LSU's
is kind of hard when the quarterback can't set his
feet and move the ball down field," Sumlin said.
"LSU played very well on defense."
the game ended, fans chanted, "Keep Les Miles!
Keep Les Miles!"
they got their wish.
game day, Miles' biggest fans made sure they were seen
the "Tiger Walk," from the team busses to
the stadium, Miles was greeted like a hero as he waved
to the crowd, at times pausing and turning around as
if to soak it all in. Many fans held up signs
expressing support for the embattled coach, some
urging LSU to give him at least one more season.
Death Valley before kickoff, the crowd roared when
Miles was introduce during Senior Day ceremonies. The
coach tipped his trademark baseball cap to acknowledge
the crowd, raising the volume a little more.
overall record improved to 111-32. LSU could have had
a nine-win regular season if not for lightning
canceling the season opener against heavy underdog
some of the very aspects of LSU's game that have
bothered Miles' critics showed up again.
were a handful of pre-snap penalties and the passing
game was largely ineffective. Brandon Harris was 7 of
21 for 83 yards, no touchdowns and an interception. A
number of his passes sailed over intended receivers or
skipped off the grass short of their mark. Most of his
receptions came on check downs to running backs,
including a critical third-down swing pass to
Fournette for a 17-yard gain that sustained the
Tigers' final scoring drive.
didn't help that kicker Trent Domingue, who'd missed
only one field goal all season coming in, missed three
against the Aggies.
the Tigers finally produced a big play to take a 13-7
lead, it came on Guice's long run.
Aggies, who led 7-6 at halftime, scored their lone TD
on Allen's 8-yard, third-down pass over the middle to
Aggies squandered a chance to widen their lead when
Allen was sacked and stripped by Kendell Beckwith on
the LSU 13, with the Tigers' Devon Godchaux