The Texas A&M Aggies will play on Thanksgiving for the first time since 2011 when they host LSU, hoping the game stokes a rivalry between the teams.
The Aggies faced their more than century-old rival Texas on the holiday for years in one of the most beloved football traditions in the state. That annual meeting ended in 2011 when Texas A&M left the Big 12 for the Southeastern Conference.
Now they’ll play on Thanksgiving again with a team they figure is their most natural rival in their new conference.
“I was told when I came to school here that it was absolutely a rivalry game, and I understand that,” LSU coach Les Miles said.
LSU has won the last three games in the series that dates to 1899. The Tigers are the only SEC West team that A&M hasn’t beaten since joining the league, and the Aggies’ last win in the series came in 1995.
“LSU is has been a team that we’ve been trying to beat since we’ve entered the SEC, so it’s a replacement game,” Texas A&M cornerback Deshazor Everett said. “We look at LSU as our new rivals now.”
Coach Kevin Sumlin said playing on Thanksgiving brings back many good memories for Texas A&M fans eager to get a win on the holiday after falling to the Longhorns in the series’ final game in 2011.
“I think it’s a great honor,” Sumlin said. “Somebody’s got to play, why not us? And in a great venue in front of 100,000-plus at night. It’s something to be excited about and proud of, and I know our guys are excited to be playing.”
It’s the first time the Tigers will play on Thanksgiving since 1983. But LSU is no stranger to playing on the holiday in its history, having played 25 times before with the first one coming in a 29-0 loss to Texas in 1899.
Texas A&M and LSU have met once before on Thanksgiving, playing to a 7-7 tie in Houston in 1913.
Some of the Tigers have mixed emotions about playing on Thanksgiving. Sumlin said that the game will likely be played on Friday next season when it’s at LSU.
“Playing on Thanksgiving is a good deal, but it’s a bad deal,” LSU cornerback Tre’Davious White said. “You miss that home-cooked meal on Thanksgiving Day. When you come home Friday, there will be leftovers. That’s not the same.”