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November 24, 2013

Postgame quotes

Here are some comments from Texas A&M head coach Kevin Sumlin and quarterback Johnny Manziel after the Aggies' 34-10 loss to LSU Saturday night:

Coach Sumlin:

"I thought that was a really, really hard football game, and you have to give LSU a lot of credit across the board. I felt that we had a chance right there before the half to get something going and come back out in the third quarter. Obviously, we weren't good enough on third downs. I said before the game that we're two of the better third down conversion teams in the country playing tonight, and (LSU) showed why they're the No. 1 third down conversion team. We weren't able to stay on the field offensively, and because of that, our defense got grinded down. You have to give LSU credit across the board. I felt that they did some things to us defensively. We couldn't make enough plays in the game offensively to get in the rhythm of any sort. We have to give them credit for that, and offensively, they stuck to their plan. I thought our defense held up for a long time but gave up a couple big plays that separated us. That's something that we need to learn from. I think you get on the road and the crowd gets into it. I thought we started pressing a little bit offensively, and that showed."

On LSU's defense: "I thought their defense played well."

On the defense wearing down: "Everything works together. You can't keep sending them out there. We had three and outs, and our team is used to us scoring points. When we moved the ball, we stalled out. Penalties came at inopportune times. Everything works together. You have a defense unit like that that's playing hard, gave up a few big plays, but in the first half, we didn't help them out offensively. Kicking game wise, we started off pretty good, but they covered their kicks ... and we gave ourselves some long fields and couldn't put points on the board. Everything works together, and the defense was out there about as long as they could."

On LSU's defense again: They're athletic, they've got good players. They just have a good scheme.

On what LSU did to confuse A&M's offense: "It was a lot of things. It wasn't like they did the same thing all night. You've got to get them credit, because they were playing man to man; there were some calls that could have gone either way. Both sides were complaining a little bit during the game, but for the most part, that's how they're going to call the game. You've got to adjust to that. We lost Malcome Kennedy, who has been a big part of what we've done; we tried to move Travis Labhart into his position and brought in Laquvionte Gonzalez in his place into Labhart's position, so there were some sight adjustments, guys playing different positions, and it really didn't work out. Those are all excuses, and you've got to give credit LSU credit for how they played tonight."

On going for it on 4th and goal: "Of course, I thought about (a field goal). I thought we needed points."

On LSU's running game: "I said (A&M would have to contain Jeremy Hill) early this week. McGee had a big game too. We were good enough, but like I said, sending them back out there to get a stop, and they're rotating those guys all night, and they've got a big, physical offensive line. Their receivers are NFL players. I think they operated very, very efficiently. When (Mettenberger) had single coverage, he made the passes."

Johnny Manziel:

On the offensive struggles: "You have to come out and establish a tempo, get some things going, and we could never really get it going. You have to give a lot of credit to them. They came out and mixed a lot of things up. They kept us guessing, and it really took us awhile to figure it out. You have to give a lot of credit to them. They have a very talented defense regardless of how their season's gone. I think they came out and played a heck of a game defensively scheme-wise and all. They continued to get a free rusher at will. We've got to get back to the basics, the fundamentals of pitch and catch and throwing the football around. If we don't establish that and don't get that going, we don't have much chance. They punched us in the mouth, and it wasn't fun."

On the wind affecting his throws: "I didn't really notice it that much. I felt like I had Mike [Evans] on a deep route where he did a great job of getting open. It's a throw that I make 95 percent of the time, and it's what we work on every week. If anything, it took off a little more than not flying. There was a third down to Malcome [Kennedy] in between on an out route that it hit him a little bit lower of where I wanted to put it, and he just dropped it. There were times where we really needed to execute, make some plays, and we just didn't make them. They did a great job of containing our high-tempo, high-powered offense."

On his thumb injury affecting his play: "It's been a factor throughout the past couple of weeks, but I had nothing to do. I felt like I came out and spun the ball pretty well. We just didn't get the pitch and catch that we wanted and completing passes. It's not many times that we come into halftime to look at the stat sheet and it's 8-for-22 [passing]. A big thing for me is getting completions early and some of the other games we go 10-for-10, 7-for-8 and start completing some high percentage passes. That's what we do, and we have to do that to be successful. Having a lot of drops and incomplete passes ? both on my part and the offense ? it can't happen and make for a good outcome."

On the frustration of not getting anything going on offense: "It was just one of those days. We came in with a lot of energy and excitement. It had nothing to do with being on the road or the rowdiness. We just didn't play fundamental football like we needed to. That's the bottom line."

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