Seven OTs and a scuffle,
It was the night of Nov. 24 when LSU doused coach Ed Orgeron with Gatorade. It was the morning of Nov. 25 when the Tigers lost, seven overtimes and a combined 91 points later, and a fight broke out.
Texas A&M 74, LSU 72 — in football, not basketball, and you knew it would take LSU’s mediocre offense all of seven overtimes to get there. The game was so long ... well, how long was it? Well, Texas A&M was in the Big 12 Conference when the game started. It was so long ... it’s a good thing the Aggies aren’t paying Jimbo Fisher by the hour.
It was 31-24 with just seconds left when the Tigers dropped a few dozen gallons of sugar on Orgeron’s head, and LSU’s head coach wore the sticky liquid for the next hourplus as a reminder of how close his team came to locking down a spot in a New Year’s Six bowl. But A&M quarterback Kellen Mond tossed a 19-yard touchdown strike as time expired to force overtime. And then ...
An LSU field goal to make it 34-31. A&M ties it 34-34. Second overtime. Mond’s touchdown run. LSU touchdown run. Third overtime. LSU quarterback Joe Burrow throws a touchdown and the Tigers notch the twopoint conversion. A&M answers to make it 49-49. LSU fans ask each other: Excuse me, what happened here?
Matching field goals to knot the score at 52-52. Water break. The fifth overtime begins with a trick play: Orgeron and LSU dial up the halfback pass to make it 58-52 but miss on the conversion. Don’t worry — A&M obliged by scoring a touchdown but missing on the two-point try. It was 66-58, then 66-66. LSU opens the seventh and final overtime with a touchdown, making it 72-66. Mond would then throw another touchdown pass, his fourth in overtime play and sixth overall, to tie the score at 72-72. Mond would then find receiver Kendrick Rogers for the game-winning conversion.
“These are moments you live for, so no matter what’s going on with your body you want to be out there,” Rogers said. “So you just have to talk yourself out of it, just mentally fight through it.”
It’s the highest-scoring game in Football Bowl Subdivision history at 146 points, shattering the record of 139 points set in Western Michigan’s 71-68 win against Buffalo a year ago, also in overtime. LSU’s 72 points are the most ever scored in a losing effort. The Tigers had scored a combined 79 points in their previous four SEC games.
“You had two teams out there refusing to lose and we just made one more play,” Texas A&M coach Jimbo Fisher said.
“I lost track of overtimes … it is the craziest game ever.”
It’s college football, and it’s the SEC, and it’s refereeing, and it’s seven overtimes, so you knew there was going to be controversy. LSU had issues with two calls, both in the final seconds of the Aggies’ game-tying drive to end regulation.
On one, LSU believed it had intercepted Mond to seal the win, only to have referees review the play and call that Mond’s knee had been on the turf when he received a low snap, ending the play. And after Mond spiked the ball after converting a long fourth down, a review ruled that there was still one second on the clock. LSU players who had just given Orgeron a Gatorade shower had to return to the field for another play. It was a touchdown, A&M, and we went to overtime.
“The momentum kept on changing both ways and the guys responded,” Orgeron said. “That was one heck of an overtime; we just fell one play short. Our guys have nothing to be ashamed about.”
The battle raged in a postgame fight. LSU offensive analyst Steve Kragthorpe, 53, diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2011 and has had a pacemaker in his chest to stimulate his brain since 2017, was struck by a credentialed man from the Texas A&M sideline, who was later identified as Cole Fisher, the nephew of Jimbo Fisher whom the SEC referred to as a “staff member” for A&M. That is when LSU director of player development Kevin Faulk, a former LSU and NFL star back, went after the man.
Video also shows LSU safety John Battle hitting Cole Fisher along with Faulk.
“Out of nowhere, I got nailed,” Kragthorpe said in a phone interview while he drove the next afternoon. “I didn’t go down, but I clutched over. I was like, ‘Damn, he got me right in my pacemaker.’ Then it started fluttering like he jostled it.”
“It got out of hand,” Faulk said.
Kragthorpe was checked out by Texas A&M team doctor Jesse Parr and other emergency medical personnel at the game. He saw his neurologist Nov. 26.
“I didn’t appreciate getting punched in my pacemaker,” he said Nov. 25 but said the next day he was advised not to make further comment.
Kragthorpe said Texas A&M might be held responsible if his pacemaker has been damaged or if he has been injured.
“I want to assure everyone that the matter has been addressed internally with my staff members,” Jimbo Fisher said in a statement.
The Southeastern Conference fined Texas A&M $50,000 for violations of the “access to competition area policy” after the game because fans poured out onto the field. The SEC said at press time it remains in contact with the schools regarding the altercation.
Kragthorpe, a former head coach at Tulsa (2003-06) and at Louisville (2007-09), was A&M’s receivers coach in 2010 before becoming LSU’s offensive coordinator for the 2011 season. That summer, he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s. He kept coaching at LSU, but just wide receivers in 2011 and ’12. Then he moved out of coaching to a special assistant under then-coach Les Miles and has been an analyst since 2013.
He said he was at first walking across the sideline to say hello to Texas A&M coaches he knows. Then he saw Texas A&M wide receivers coach Dameyune Craig yelling and going up to LSU coaches.
“Dameyune Craig started the whole thing,” Kragthorpe said. “Just trash talking and yelling and screaming a bunch of crap.”
Craig was hired by Miles to be wide receivers coach in 2016. Orgeron, who replaced Miles on an interim basis after four games in 2016, fired Craig shortly after being promoted to head coach after the regular season.
“I went up to Dameyune and said, ‘Hey, Dameyune get out of here. You won. You don’t need to be doing that. Move along.’ And that’s when I got hit.”
Texas A&M wide receiver Kendrick Rogers, right, celebrates with Charles Oliver after the Aggies beat LSU in seven overtimes.