Alabama defeated LSU on Saturday in a 29-0 throttling that honestly wasn’t as close as the score indicates. Besides the kicking game – again – Alabama was as close to perfect as you could be. The Tide shutout what many believe to be their toughest opponent of the year, at their place, at night. I’ve been told this feat is rare.
Nevertheless, Alabama put all of college football on notice Saturday night with the win. Let’s take a look at how Alabama did just that.
Pitching a shutout is difficult in modern football. Doing so against a top three team in their house is historic. LSU had no counterpunch to what Alabama was doing offensively.
The Tigers barely completed 30% of their third downs. LSU quarterback Joe Burrow completed just north of 50% of his passes, and LSU only had about three pass plays go for more than 20 yards, the longest coming on the Tigers’ final drive of the game as they were down 29-0.
LSU showed nothing new and Alabama was better at every position from a defensive standpoint.
Quinnen Williams set up camp behind the LSU offensive line, finishing with 10 total tackles, 2.5 sacks, and 3.5 tackles for loss. Mack Wilson and Dylan Moses patrolled the middle of the field while Christian Miller and Anfernee Jennings put meaningful pressure on Burrow the entire night.
The secondary that was supposed to be the Achilles heel of this team didn’t allow a single 100-yard receiver and held LSU to just 5.3 yards per pass.
Alabama ran at will
Everyone thought Ed Orgeron was crazy when he kept saying he knew Alabama was going to try and run the ball, so they had to be ready. Considering how dominant Tua Tagovailoa has been and how Bama has basically changed its identity to a passing offense, Orgeron’s words seemed strange.
There was nothing strange about how Alabama was able to run at will against LSU on Saturday night. The Tide racked up 281 yards rushing, averaging a gaudy 7.6 yards per carry average, against a defense that was giving up just 130 yards rushing per game. Five rushers had a chance to carry the ball and Damien Harris proved to be the workhorse he’s been his entire career. He had 19 carries for 107 yards and a touchdown.
Harris, Najee Harris and quarterback Tua Tagovailoa all had explosive runs of over 20 yards with Tua’s 44-yard run ending in a touchdown.
The Tide had plenty of success in the air, but the difference in the game was owning the line of scrimmage and dictating the flow of the game by being able to run the ball whenever they wanted.
Tua for Heisman
Everyone knew it was going to be the most difficult game for the sophomore quarterback as the LSU defense has the most NFL-caliber starters he will likely face all season. Tua struggled to make throws and fit throws into small windows at times; he threw his first interception and looked genuinely confused with some of his decision-making throughout the night.
Having said that, he still completed 60 percent of his passes for 295 yards and two touchdowns while also scrambling for a 44-yard touchdown that will no doubt be included in his Heisman ceremony highlight reel.
Tua never looked rattled by the Tigers defense and did exactly what he needed to do to lead his team to victory. Death Valley couldn’t kill Tua.
Saban not worried about kicking game
The weakest part of this Alabama team reared its ugly head again on Saturday night. Joseph Bulovas was only 2-for-4 on extra points and even though one of those misses came in part due to a bad hold, the kicking game as a whole was subpar.
Bulovas did hit a 23-yard field goal, but the missed extra points drown out any praise he may have received for that.
“There’s no need in getting frustrated, we just got to get it right,” Nick Saban said after the game of his placekicker.
He’s right, and then again, he could always just let his offense go for two. I’m pretty sure they could at least complete 50% of those attempts.
Alabama won the game when…
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