BATON ROUGE, La. -- Moments after running back Leonard Fournette set an LSU season rushing record to snap the reeling Tigers' three-game losing streak with a 19-7 victory over Texas A&M, LSU coach Les Miles found out in the locker room that he would remain the coach for the 2016 season.
Miles, whose team started 7-0 and rose to No. 2 in the polls only to lose its last three SEC games by an average of 17.3 points, was carried off the field by his players after Fournette rushed for 159 yards and the clinching touchdown with 2:50 left.
But it wasn't until after Miles had addressed his players in the locker room that he found out officially from LSU chancellor F. King Alexander and athletic director Joe Alleva that he would not be fired after an 8-3 regular season.
"We're a talented football team and we seemed to undershoot our mark this year," Miles said. "I agree with Joe (Alleva). We should be a team playing for championships. Joe wants to work for that, and I'm fully right with him."
Miles indicated that he would evaluate his coaching staff and make any adjustments he deemed necessary. He mentioned the offensive struggles of quarterback Brandon Harris during the three-game losing streak were particularly alarming.
"Honestly, up to Game 7, I thought he was magnificent, and then there seemed to be a pause," Miles said. "We haven't quite gotten him back on track. There's some work to do there. We were imperfect offensively. We're not as good as we should have been. We should have scored a pile of points. Those are things we should fix."
Even in the victory, Harris had an abysmal performance. He completed just 7 of 21 attempts for 83 yards and was intercepted once. Several of his short throws were either high or low, and he showed little touch on short swing passes.
Fournette finished with 1,741 rushing yards in the regular season, eclipsing the 1977 LSU season record of 1,686 by Charles Alexander.
Sophomore Derrius Guice added a 50-yard touchdown run early in the third quarter to give LSU a 13-7 lead. The Tigers (8-3) added field goals of 32 and 38 yards by Trent Domingue, but Domingue missed three others from 25, 50 and 46 yards.
Texas A&M (8-4) managed just one touchdown -- an 8-yard slant from quarterback Kyle Allen to receiver Ricky Seals-Jones.
After LSU closed out their 16th consecutive eight-win season, LSU players lifted Miles on their shoulders near midfield and carried him over to the student section at the north end of the stadium, where the LSU band played the alma mater.
Asked what it felt like to be carried off the field -- especially not knowing his fate -- Miles said, "Scary. I now know what it's like to ride an elephant. It scares you to death. I was praying that I could hold on to the ears."
Alleva made the official announcement to the media about 30 minutes after the game. He had vowed not to comment on Miles' status until after the season, but his silence had been interpreted by many to mean Miles' days at LSU were numbered.
"The season's completed and I want to make it very clear and positive that Les Miles is our football coach and will continue to be our football coach," Alleva said. "He leads this team to a bowl game and to another great recruiting class.
"Les and I have talked about this program, and we are committed together to compete and win at the highest level. I'm very pleased about tonight's outcome and very pleased that Coach Miles is our coach."
LSU had been rumored to be interested in luring Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher to Baton Rouge, which triggered speculation that Miles was on shaky ground despite his 111-32 records over the last 11 seasons.
Miles said he never let the speculation get to him or his family.
"I'm a Miles, and what I've got is clear focus," he said. "I'm not distracted easily."
But he knows there is work to do.
"It's not right to win occasionally," Miles said. "My expectations are so high. I just love going to that stadium."
Miles would not rule out staff changes, but he seemed to support offensive coordinator Cam Cameron.
"I'm not (ready to answer) any of those questions, but I'm going to look at the statistics and do studies and make quality decisions," Miles said. "Thank goodness we had (Cameron) tonight. ... (Staff changes) would be a natural contemplation."