The Associated Press
ARLINGTON, Texas — With rumors swirling about LSU coach Les Miles’ future, Jordan Jefferson threw three touchdown passes to Terrence Toliver and ran for a score to help the 11th-ranked Tigers rally for a 41-24 victory against No. 18 Texas A&M in the Cotton Bowl on Friday night.
Miles is likely a leading candidate for the coaching vacancy at Michigan, where he played and was an assistant coach.
In the days leading up to the Cotton Bowl, Miles said his focus was on his Tigers and that he enjoyed where he was.
But LSU (11-2) has now completed its fourth season with at least 11 wins in Miles’ six years. The Tigers had only two 11-win seasons in their history before that.
Texas A&M (9-4) led 10-0 in the first quarter, including a field goal after Jefferson threw an interception, but had its six-game winning streak snapped.
It was the 50th game between the border-state schools, but the first since the 1995 opener. Texas A&M had won the last five games in a series that likely will not be renewed in the regular season any time soon.
Jefferson was 10 of 19 for 158 yards with scoring passes of 42, 2 and 41 yards to Toliver, who had only two TD catches in the regular season.
LSU went ahead for good when Stevan Ridley had a 17-yard TD run, jumping over a defender near the line and then sweeping right untouched into the end zone for a 21-17 lead with 4:43 left in the first half.
Ryan Tannehill, who had been 5-0 since taking over as the Aggies starting quarterback, then threw two interceptions in a span of three throws – after 127 consecutive attempts without a pick. The second interception was by Eric Reid, who returned it 34 yards to the 2 to set up Jefferson’s short TD pass to Toliver for a 28-17 halftime lead.
Miles was considered a top candidate for the Michigan job three years ago, during LSU’s national championship season.
In an unusual pregame news conference before the 2007 Southeastern Conference championship game, Miles expressed his intention to stay at LSU and later signed a contract extension through 2012. Michigan eventually hired Rich Rodriguez, who was 15-22 when he was fired this week.
There was no pregame talk from Miles before the Cotton Bowl on Friday, after Stanford coach and former Michigan quarterback Jim Harbaugh agreed to a five-year deal to go to the NFL with the San Francisco 49ers.
Before that, Harbaugh had appeared to be at the top of a short list with Miles and San Diego State coach Brady Hoke, also a former Wolverines assistant, as candidates to return to Ann Arbor and replace Rodriguez.
Regardless of what Miles does, LSU will be back in Cowboys Stadium for its 2011 season opener – against Oregon, which plays Auburn for the BCS national championship on Monday night.
- Kiffin eager to put past problems to rest
- Frazier, Wuerffel to meet again in Hall of Fame
- Spring is crucial for new Pac-12 coaches
- Manziel taking smart approach to doing things he likes
- Michigan's Hoke says Irish 'chickening out'
- Auburn confident it can make athletic fixes
- Fulmer helping restart program at ETSU
- FCS Championship Inside Access Part 1
- North Dakota State earns second FCS title
- Advantageous Bison ground out victory
- Kennesaw State names Bohannon first head coach
- Ejections for hits on defenseless players?
- Delta State reintroduces ‘Fear the Okra’
- CFB: Valdosta St. captures DII national title
- Valdosta St. dominates in DII title win
- Valdosta St. overcomes rough start to win DII title
- DII unveils 2013 football television schedule
- Harlon Hill Trophy namesake dies at 80