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Ed Orgeron's tenure at LSU is done. LSU's season isn't, however.
Max Johnson hit Jaray Jenkins down the sideline for a 28-yard touchdown with 20 seconds to go to give the Tigers a 27-24 win over No. 15 Texas A&M on Saturday night. The win gets LSU to 6-6 on the season and makes the Tigers bowl eligible. And it means Orgeron could have gotten another game as the team's head coach.
"It was about 19 seniors, it wasn’t about me," Orgeron said to ESPN after the game.
But Orgeron said at his postgame news conference that he won't coach in whatever bowl game LSU ends up in. A plan is in place for offensive line coach Brad Davis to coach the game as LSU searches for its next coach.
Hours after beating Florida to move to 4-3 in October, LSU announced that Orgeron would not return as the team's coach in 2022. Orgeron coached the Tigers to a 15-0 season and a national title in 2019, but big steps back in 2020 and 2021 were clearly not satisfactory for LSU and athletic director Scott Woodward.
Woodward came to LSU from Texas A&M where he hired Jimbo Fisher away from Florida State on a 10-year, $75 million contract. Fisher has issued repeated denials of any interest in the LSU job in response to myriad musings that Woodward would be interested in bringing the former LSU assistant back to Baton Rouge. Fisher was the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at LSU from 2000-06.
Fisher received a four-year extension at Texas A&M in September that increased his salary to $9 million per season.
Max Johnson throws for over 300 yards
Johnson had the best SEC game of his career on Saturday night. The son of former NFL QB Brad Johnson was 22-of-38 passing for 306 yards and three touchdowns, though he was sacked six times. He found Jenkins eight times for 169 yards and two touchdowns while Tyrion Davis-Price rushed 19 times for 84 yards.
The Tigers defense stopped A&M’s run game and forced the Aggies to move the ball through the air with QB Zach Calzada. Devon Achane and Isaiah Spiller combined to rush for 76 yards on 23 carries and didn’t score a touchdown. Calzada was 20-of-35 passing for 242 yards and also threw three touchdowns.
The Aggies (8-4) trailed 20-10 at the end of the third quarter and took the lead with two consecutive touchdowns in the fourth quarter. Jalen Preston gave A&M a 24-20 lead with 7:33 to go when he had a 32-yard catch and run off a short pass to the sideline from Calzada.
But LSU had a final chance at the win after getting the ball back with 1:58 to go. The Tigers went 85 yards in nine plays for the game-winning TD.
The win means LSU is the 13th SEC team to become bowl eligible. Vanderbilt is the only team in the conference that didn't get to at least six wins.