After a roller coaster game last week in which the Tide went up 21-0 in the first quarter before surrendering 31 points to Arkansas in a 65-31 win, Alabama welcomes Missouri for homecoming. The Tigers are coming off a heartbreaking loss to South Carolina and have a 3-2 record on the year.
Alabama tries to stay perfect behind one of the most prolific offenses in all of college football, maybe college football history.
Here are the keys to game.
Tua vs. Lock
Before through the season, I think most people believed Drew Lock was at the top of the list when it came to SEC quarterbacks. While he has done nothing to disappoint, no one expected Tua to be as good as he has been so far.
Either way, we receive a midseason treat as two of the top QBs in the country square off this weekend.
Lock is one of the major reasons why Missouri has a winning record and the only reason Missouri has a chance to make this game close. Arkansas quarterback Arkansas quarterback Ty Storey picked the Tide defense apart last week and if not for an early turnover on the goal line and a 4th quarter interception, the Razorbacks could have scored more.
It was revealed this week that defensive back Trevon Diggs is out indefinitely so Alabama will need to find a replacement for him and answers to its pass defense quickly to slow Lock down.
Lock averages 318 yards passing per game and the Tigers as a team are scoring 39 points per game. They won’t outgun the Tide, but they can make Nick Saban have a miserable day if they run up the score.
As I mentioned before, the Tide didn’t have a good performance last week giving up 31 points to Arkansas while also losing a starter in the secondary. The Razorbacks converted half of their third down attempts, giving them more opportunities to score.
Storey had all day to throw as the Tide front only sacked him once and hurried him on just seven passes. Alabama will need to amp up its pass rush and pressure Lock.
Whether it’s extra rushers from the inside with linebackers or delayed blitzes from the secondary, defensive coordinator Tosh Lupoi and company need to find a way to make Lock uncomfortable in the pocket, something they didn’t do last week.
Maintain a viable rushing attack
The 2018 version of Alabama’s offense is so different from previous editions because we are not used to seeing an Alabama team score at will through the air.
Being able to ground and pound, like the Alabama of old, remains important. Alabama’s new identity is fun, but balance is key to national championship.
As Saban has said in the past, it’s about being able to run the ball when you want to. One way to keep Lock off the field is by managing the amount of time he actually has on the field. A balanced running attack can do that.
New offensive wrinkles
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