Oct 21, 2017; Tuscaloosa, AL, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide quarterback Jalen Hurts (2) carries the ball during the second quarter against the Tennessee Volunteers at Bryant-Denny Stadium.

USA Today Sports

Game preview: LSU vs. Alabama

The Tigers get a chance to stun the Tide

Deke Bellavia
November 03, 2017 - 2:24 pm

The University of Alabama

Coach:  Nick Saban  

Record: 8-0 (5-0 SEC)

Conference:  Southeastern (West)

Mascot:  Crimson Tide

School Colors:  Cardinal and White

Last week’s results:  Alabama had a BYE

Series History:  The Tigers and Crimson Tide will meet for the 82nd time Saturday night in Bryant Deny Stadium in Tuscaloosa Alabama.  The Crimson Tide lead the all-time series 51-25-5


The Alabama Offense

The Tide offense has all the markings of a typical consistent unit.  This team can run, pass when they need to, and they are sound along their O-line.  But has anyone forced Alabama to pass when they don’t want to?

I will be interested to see how the Tide offense matches up with three of their next four opponents.  LSU, Mississippi State, Auburn and Georgia all have much better defensive units than any team Alabama has faced this season.  And I’d bet that at some point, when playing those teams the Crimson Tide will be forced to pass the football.

The question - can QB Jalen Hurts complete passes to several different players?  WR Calvin Ridley leads the Tide with 41 receptions.  The next closest to Ridley has 12 receptions.  Will any team ever force Hurts to go through his progressions and look to someone other than Ridley?  Nobody knows, becasue Hurts has never been put through that test.

If LSU can force Hurts to pass the ball and not tuck it and run, that's where the Tigers can try to make something happen. 

Key Stat:  The Tide offense is a perfect 11-for-11 on 4th down conversions this season.


The Alabama Defense

Okay, if we go by history, teams that have had success against the Tide defense are teams that can spread the ball out and hit you from all over.  LSU does not have that type of offense.

So, the question on the table is simply this - can LSU's Offensive Coordinator come up with enough formation shifts to confuse and challenge Bama?  Can Darius Guice do what Leonard Fournette could not do - rush the football with success against the Alabama defense?  And, can QB Danny Etling make some throws without getting crushed in the pocket?

I think LSU will play hard as they can.  But, like in past years I see a much more physical Tide defensive front wearing down the Tigers and pulling away in the second half. 

Key Stat:  The Tide defense ranks #1 in the nation in Total defense (236.0 yards per game), Scoring Defense (9.8) and Rushing Defense (66.4). 


The Big Chief Says

Hey. is Alabama three TD’s better than LSU?  I don’t know.  But, what I do know - in past meetings the pace of the game, turnover ratio, time of possession, balance, special teams play and battles in the trenches - all crucial game fronts have all gone strongly in Alabama's favor. 

What can LSU do to exploit the Tide?  Can Bama be exploited?  I say absolutely yes!  But, does LSU have the personnel to do so?  The past predicts the future, and if we go by history, we know that teams that have beaten Alabama have done so with a mobile, play extending type quarterback.  LSU does not have that type of QB.

Plus, the Tigers are very young up front on offense, and this matchup may be too much to ask of this young, promising group of linemen.  I think LSU can hang around, but I’m not sure they have enough stamina, endurance and experience to compete toe-to-toe for 60 minutes.

I’ll say Alabama wins 30-13.

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