Alabama visits LSU on Saturday in a matchup of the No. 1 and No. 3 ranked teams in the initial College Football Playoff rankings. Despite that, the Tide are a two touchdown favorite in the game. Let’s take a look at the keys to the game.
A healthy Tua must stay upright
With backup Jalen Hurts still not 100% after his surgery, keeping Tua Tagovailoa upright and out of trouble is critical. We all know this Alabama offense is capable of running the ball but, the offense runs through Tua.
A clean pocket and minimal rushing attempts from him on a knee that may be as close to healthy as it will get this season would be welcomed by Nick Saban. Mac Jones is a great third string quarterback, but if he or Hurts has to enter the game before Alabama has a sizable lead, something went horribly wrong.
Keep the pedal to the metal
Speaking of the offense, I hope the game plan doesn’t change for Alabama based on the opponent because that would play right into LSU’s hand. Alabama’s offense is as powerful as we’ve ever seen under Saban and that’s exactly how it is going to win this game.
Turning this into a sloppy, smash-mouth affair is exactly what Ed Orgeron needs to give him any chance of seeing a win on Saturday.
Alabama must let Tua and company do what they do best, run full throttle, and build a three touchdown lead before the first quarter is over. Reverting back to a run first, pass second offense would be a monumental mistake.
Control the game by controlling your emotions
By now everyone has seen the Missouri game tape and knows that some of the Alabama players respond emotionally when provoked. Yes, I’m talking about Raekwon Davis’ Mortal Kombat style combo he landed on a Missouri lineman.
This is going to be an emotional game and atmosphere. This is LSU, at night, in Baton Rouge.
LSU hasn’t beaten Alabama since 2011 and no one in the state of Louisiana is happy about it. The players know it and they are going to push buttons to see if they can get someone to react. Depth isn’t an issue for Alabama, but it’s not exactly a strong suite for this defense either. They need everyone who can be on the field to be on the field.
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