BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Jayden Daniels passed for four touchdowns and accounted for 355 yards of total offense against one of the nation's top defenses, and No. 14 LSU beat Texas A&M 42-30 on Saturday.
Daniels completed 16 of 24 passes for 235 yards and ran 11 times for 120 yards — a fine day by most quarterbacks' standards but somewhat short of the Heisman Trophy candidate's usual production this season.
Time will tell if he did enough to win over Heisman voters, who will get an additional look at two other top candidates — Washington quarterback Michael Penix Jr. and Oregon QB Bo Nix — when their teams meet in the Pac-12 title game on Friday.
Malik Nabers caught six passes for 122 yards and two TDs for LSU (9-3, 6-2 SEC). In the process, he became LSU’s career record holder in receptions with 186, eclipsing Wendell Davis' mark of 183.
The Aggies (7-5, 4-4) were within one score after Jaylen Henderson found tight end Max Wright for a 51-yard touchdown that trimmed LSU’s lead to 35-30 with 7:20 left.
But Daniels quickly directed LSU back downfield with a 45-yard completion to Nabers that might have been a 75-yard TD if not for a holding call on Kyren Lacy at the A&M 30. Still, Daniels got the Tigers in the end zone with his 15-yard strike to Lacy for the final margin.
Daniels' biggest play with his feet was a 49-yard scramble on fourth-and-4 to set up Josh Williams' short TD run, cutting A&M's lead to 24-21 in the third quarter.
Aggies kicker Randy Bond missed a 32-yard field goal and Henderson was intercepted by linebacker Greg Penn, allowing LSU to take a 28-24 lead on Daniels’ 23-yard fade to Brian Thomas in the back right corner of the end zone.
Nabers’ leaping touchdown catch along the sideline made it 35-24.
LSU took a 7-0 first-quarter lead on Logan Diggs’ short TD run, which was set up by Daniels’ 21-yard scramble.
The Aggies responded with 10 straight points on Le’Veon Moss’ 2-yard TD and Bond’s 48-yard field goal.
Daniels had scrambles of 13 and 23 yards to help set up his 6-yard TD pass to Nabers for a 14-10 lead. But the Aggies took a 17-14 halftime lead on Jake Johnson’s catch-and-run for a 14-yard score.
Texas A&M: The Aggies outgained the nation’s leading offense 390-389 — thanks in large part because their defense lived up to its reputation. Daniels finished about 62 yards of total offense short of his average of 417.4 coming in. Henderson finished 25 of 35 for 294 yards and two TDs with one interception.
LSU: The Tigers’ defense struggled for much of the game, as it has all season. But after allowing A&M to convert on nine of its first 13 third downs, the unit held on four straight during a pivotal stretch during which LSU surged in front by scoring 21 straight points.
Both teams await bowl bids due out on Dec. 3
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AP college football: https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-football-poll and https://apnews.com/hub/college-football