It’s been 113 years since the first time the Louisiana State University Tigers crossed the Texas-Louisiana border to play the Aggies at Kyle Field — and on Saturday, LSU will make the journey once again, renewing Texas A&M’s seventh-oldest collegiate football rivalry.
Prior to joining the Southeastern Conference this year, the Aggies have played the Tigers more than any other non-conference opponent. But this longstanding relationship is one that isn’t just defined by records on the football field — it includes academic partnerships, shared commitments of service, cultural similarities and more.
Like Texas A&M, LSU is a land-, sea- and space-grant university that boasts state-of-the-art research facilities. Both universities owe their existence to the Morrill Act of 1862, which established the country’s land-grant college system 150 years ago. Because of their similar missions of service to the states of Texas and Louisiana — as well as their close proximity to the Gulf of Mexico — Texas A&M and LSU researchers have teamed up countless times on collaborative projects that focus on everything from agricultural innovations to coastal protection.
“I can remember making a road trip to LSU while a student at Texas A&M. This is a great rivalry, and we are excited for its renewal as members of the SEC,” said Texas A&M President R. Bowen Loftin. “While we may be rivals in athletic competition, there are numerous academic collaborations between our two institutions that impact our lives in many ways. Saturday’s football game provides an opportunity for us to spotlight these collaborations and bring greater visibility to the outstanding work of our faculty and staff.”
Texas A&M and LSU are also home to two of the eight veterinary schools in the SEC — the most of any athletic conference in the country. Each veterinary school is also affiliated with an emergency animal response team, further underscoring each institution’s dedication to service.
Faculty, staff and students of LSU’s School of Veterinary Medicine volunteer as members of the Louisiana State Animal Response Team (LSART), an organization that assists parishes for planning, response and recovery efforts for all types of emergencies involving animals. Most recently, LSART helped animals affected by Hurricane Isaac in late August, opening an emergency pet shelter and rescuing animals in the aftermath of the storm.
Similarly, the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences operates the Texas A&M Veterinary Emergency Team (VET), which also protects the health and wellbeing of animals, humans and the environment in times of disaster. Members of VET have responded to numerous disasters, including last year’s Bastrop Complex wildfire, where more than 150 animals — some of which suffered severe injuries — were treated.
Culturally speaking, Texas A&M and LSU have much in common as well. For example, both schools pride themselves on tailgating prior to football games and other athletic events. Visitors to the LSU campus in Baton Rouge will find motor homes, tents and much more set up to create a true Louisiana party atmosphere, and they’ll likely be heckled with chants of “Tiger Bait!” Likewise, Texas A&M fans gather faithfully the day before each game, ready to claim their favorite tailgating spots when the clock strikes noon — and as LSU fans take in Aggieland’s tailgating scene around Spence Park and Reed Arena, they can expect to hear lots of “Howdys!” and “Gig ‘ems!” from Aggie tailgaters.
Texas A&M and LSU are also home to two of the most daunting venues in college football. Tiger Stadium has earned the nickname “Death Valley,” and its gameday atmosphere is legendary for its loud crowd. In fact, the roar of the Tiger Stadium crowd actually registered on a seismograph during a dramatic LSU win over Auburn in 1988. Texas A&M’s Kyle Field is recognized nationally as the Home of the 12th Man — and it’s the 12th Man that has helped Texas A&M earn the distinction as the top gameday experience in the country. The loud, orchestrated yelling of Aggie fans has led to many delay-of-game calls for visiting teams who struggle to communicate over the noise.
“Texas A&M vs. LSU has always been, and will continue to be, a special rivalry – two schools that share a state border and intense competition in athletics, but then work alongside each other to serve their respective states and solve pressing societal issues,” said Jason Cook, Texas A&M’s vice president for marketing and communications. “This is part of our land-grant heritage, of which we are celebrating the 150thanniversary this year along with 10 other SEC members.”
Watch for this Friday’s edition of TAMUtimes, which will feature stories highlighting the academic collaborations and other connections between Texas A&M and LSU.
Media contact: Krista Smith, Communications Coordinator, at (979) 845-4645