HOOVER, Ala. — For a game that produced a postgame fight between coaches and support staff, LSU has managed to find some humor in their seven-overtime, 74-72 loss to A&M.
Tiger players still continue to make jokes about the ill-timed Gatorade shower that was given to head coach Ed Orgeron with 29 seconds left on the game clock after what they thought was the game-sealing interception, junior center Lloyd Cushenberry III said.
“We thought the game was over,” he said. “That whole sequence leading up to that was pretty funny.”
Texas A&M quarterback Kellen Mond’s knee was ruled down before the interception and the Aggies would begin one of the best comebacks of the college football season with a 19-yard touchdown pass from Mond to Quartney Davis, creating an awkwardly sticky situation surrounding Orgeron.
For an LSU team that finished the season with a 10-3 record and a Fiesta Bowl win, the gravity of that Nov. 24 loss remained in focus during the first day of SEC Media Days Monday. LSU representatives were pelted with questions regarding the Aggies, the game and the premature hydration celebration.
“It’s tough,” LSU junior safety Grant Delpit said. “I roll my eyes like, ‘Man, that game should have been over,’ but it is what it is.”
Ninty-one combined points and seven overtime periods after that Gatorade dump, Texas A&M walked away with its first win over the Tigers since joining the SEC in 2012.
Shortly after, SEC commissioner Greg Sankey met with Texas A&M president Michael K. Young and LSU president F. King Alexander to get their opinions on player and fan safety in a game that tallied 197 combined plays.
“What if that had been a CBS game in early September with another game next week and that physical toll?” Sankey said.
The commissioner and the two universities presented the issue to the NCAA rules committee, which ultimately used the game as a catalyst to forward new overtime legislation that already had been percolating. Now, teams must attempt two-point conversions after the second overtime period and, after five frames, teams will alternate two-point attempts only.
“We trust the NCAA rules committee to make informed decisions and we’ll see how the adjustment plays out,” Sankey told The Eagle Monday. “It still allows the game to be played on the field with perhaps not seven overtimes and another hour and a half of football after an already strenuous conference game.”
The three LSU players at media days that took part in the marathon agreed with the rule change. “I think you get into a player safety issue when you start playing two games in one night,” LSU quarterback Joe Burrow said.
Beyond the historic game, former Texas A&M athletic director Scott Woodward, the man responsible for bringing head coach Jimbo Fisher to Aggieland, left his post in College Station in April for the same role at LSU, his alma mater, adding more fuel to a crackling flame.
According to Orgeron, Woodward brought more than just his own expertise to Baton Rouge.
“He came in and checked out our recruiting and loved it, loved what we’re doing,” he said. “He’s one of the best athletic directors I have been around so far. He’s the most knowledgeable I’ve been around so far forever in recruiting. He’s into recruiting. He knew every player on our board. In fact, he gave me a couple players. He had some great evaluation tips. He knows the game. He’s given me everything I need as the head football coach to be successful as LSU.”
So, with a crash course in bad blood continuing, does LSU have a rival in Texas A&M? Orgeron said yes, along with Alabama and Auburn.
However, the verdict is still out with the players.
“I’ve gotten a lot of rivalry questions today about four or five different teams,” Burrow said. “You can’t have that many rivals. That is kind of a game I’m looking forward to this year, just because of the way it ended.”
Television cameras didn’t catch a counter Gatorade shower on the A&M sidelines that night, however, the Aggies commemorated the win by engraving the final score in their Gator Bowl rings. That celebration was no laughing matter to the Tigers.
“It’s probably a game those guys will remember the rest of their life,” Burrow said. “I know I will. They won it, so they can put the score in their ring.”