Texas A&M has not beaten LSU since it joined the Southeastern Conference in 2012, but the Tigers are not taking this Aggie team lightly.
"You know, number one, whether we beat them for many years or they beat us has nothing to do with this game, and we all know that," said LSU coach Ed Orgeron. "But I think it's extra motivation on both sides, obviously. They're going to use that as motivation and we will too, obviously."
Texas A&M's physicality
Though Texas A&M (7-4, 4-3 SEC) has been in the SEC for six years now, many experts have said that new head coach, and former Florida State coach, Jimbo Fisher changed the physicality and toughness of the team.
The Aggies are solid on both sides of the ball. Their defense ranks first in the conference in stopping the run, allowing only 80 yards rushing per game.
On the opposite side of the ball, Texas A&M running back Trayveon Williams leads the SEC in rushing yards with 1,326 yards and 13 touchdowns.
"They play physical," Orgeron said. "They come to hit you. On defense they're very solid. Their front four is very good. They run around and hit you on defense. To lead the league in rushing means you're tough. And they run the football. They're tough running the football. They lead the league in rushing and they have one of the leading rushers on offense. So they're tough, they’re physical. [Fisher] has changed the mindset. This is going to be a battle. This is not an old Texas A&M team that we played — this is a physical tough team."
Even though the game has been played on "Rivalry Week" since 2014, Fisher told theEagle.com that the Aggies have to start winning more games for it to be considered a rivalry. They have the opportunity to end the six-game losing streak, but the Tigers are prepared for it.
"Every SEC game is a rivalry in itself, if it has a trophy at the end of it or not," said senior tight end Foster Moreau. "LSU-Florida doesn't have a trophy, but it's been a growing rivalry for the past couple years. I think we're going to treat this game like we treat any other game and prepare at our max capacity and do our best to try and go in a hostile environment and win."
LSU's leading receiver uJustin Jefferson missed practice on Monday and Tuesday, but returned on Friday. Orgeron said that Jefferson would be questionable for the game Saturday.
Jefferson leads all receivers this season with 45 receptions for 725 yards.
On the opposite side of the field, LSU's secondary and defensive line are dealing with injuries.
Junior cornerback Kristian Fulton started the first 10 games of the season opposite All-American Greedy Williams, totaling 25 tackles, nine pass breakups and one interception. Fulton went down before halftime of LSU's 24-17 win over Arkansas on Nov. 10 and did not play in the Tigers' win over Rice on Nov. 17.
Orgeron confirmed Fulton will not play against Texas A&M and is unsure if he will return for LSU's bowl game.
"He's getting better — it was a very serious injury," said Orgeron at his weekly radio show. "We still have to look at it. We're still doing X-rays, and I think there's still rehabbing to do."
Elsewhere in the secondary, senior safety John Battle will return after missing both the Arkansas and Rice games, and freshman cornerback Kelvin Joseph will return to the field for the first time since leaving halfway through the Arkansas game.