By JAMES MORAN | Tiger Rag Associate Editor
COLLEGE STATION, Texas — Let’s take stock of where things stand from LSU’s 54-39 rout of Texas A&M at Kyle Field on Thanksgiving night.
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STOCK UP: Offensive Line
Derrius Guice broke the single-game rushing record that Leonard Fournette set against Ole Miss earlier this season and became only the fourth running back in Southeastern Conference history to have multiple 250-yard rushing games in a single season. Meanwhile, Danny Etling threw for 324 yards and LSU hung 54 points on the board against an SEC West rival. None of that happens if not for a dominating effort in the trenches by an offensive line that’s fielded its fair share of criticism. LSU pushed around an Aggie front that includes likely top-5 draft pick Myles Garrett.
STOCK UP: Devin White
LSU’s typically stingy defense has clearly felt the absence of senior linebacker Kendell Beckwith, as the unit allowed more than 21 points for the first time all season Thursday. However, one of the serious defensive bright spots in the game came courtesy of true freshman Devin White. The rookie linebacker — converted from running back in the spring in order to play sooner — wrapped up and stripped Aggie running back Trayveon Williams and fell on the loose ball. Two plays later, Danny Etling hit Malachi Dupre with a 20-yard touchdown pass that put LSU up two scores for good.
STOCK UP: Spread it Out
Danny Etling played his best game as a Tiger, and with Travin Dural relegated to watching from the sidelines, the former Purdue quarterback got eight different receivers in on the act. Etling completed 20-of-28 passes for 324 yards and two scores, his first 300-plus yard outing as a Tiger. Russell Gage caught a career-high five balls for 62 yards and displayed some fancy footwork to haul in his first career touchdown. Malachi Dupre caught the other touchdown and DJ Chark scored on a jet sweep. True freshman notched a 42-yard grab and LSU’s top three tight ends all caught at least one pass each.
STOCK DOWN: Kickoffs
While the mid-game coaching rumors felt eerily similar to John Chavis’ departure in 2014, LSU’s struggling in the kickoff department felt much more like a throwback to 2015. When LSU kicked it deep, Christian Kirk routinely raced out past the 30-yard line to set up Texas A&M with excellent field position. His long of the night went for 66 yards and set up the Aggies in LSU territory. Then, with seconds left to go in the half, LSU tried a squib kick and kickoff specialist Cameron Gamble kicked it right at one of the forward blockers near midfield, a mistake that could’ve cost points.