Keys to the Game: LSU vs. Alabama

ALABAMA WILL WIN IF…

It doesn’t allow LSU to hit big plays: This isn’t the same ground-and-pound, three-yards-and-a-cloud-of-dust offense Nick Saban and Co. have schemed against in recent years. Under Ed Orgeron, 11 of LSU’s 17 touchdowns have come from 20+ yards out. In LSU’s last two games, eight of 11 touchdown drives took three plays or fewer to reach the end zone. Big plays have been a bugaboo for the Tide in losses in previous years, so it must force LSU’s offense to prove it can sustain drives and go the length of the field to score.
The Streak lives to see another day: Alabama has won 20 consecutive assignments overall and taken five straight against LSU, but neither of those lofty metrics constitute the most eye-popping streak the Tide are riding at this moment. Alabama has scored a non-offensive touchdown in 10 consecutive games dating back to last season’s College Football Playoff, including 12 through the first eight games of this season. More than anything, that statistic sums up what makes defeating the Tide such a daunting task. They’re not unbeatable, but make a mistake and they’ll break your back in an instant.

LSU WILL WIN IF…
The offense can avoid third and longs: LSU isn’t as predictable offensively as the unit that got manhandled in Tuscaloosa a year ago, but if the Tide can force the Tigers into third-and-longs and other obvious passing situations, the result will be much the same. Alabama’s pass rush leads the nation in total sacks (32), sacks per game (4.0) and sack yardage (278). LSU’s offensive line has played better of late and spent the bye week getting healthier, but it won’t be enough if LSU spends Saturday night consistently playing from behind the chains.
Dave Aranda can force Jalen Hurts into some rookie mistakes: For as good as Alabama’s freshman quarterback has been — and with 20 total touchdowns so far, he’s been pretty good — there’s something to be said for the difficulty of playing in Tiger Stadium on a Saturday night. Offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin hasn’t eased off the accelerator with Hurts on the road up to this point, and Aranda, who orchestrated a second-half shutout of Chad Kelly last time out, has had two weeks to scheme up some looks to confuse a green quarterback. Takeaways help spring upsets.

About James Moran 1377 Articles
James Moran was Editor of Tiger Rag from August 2018 to October 2019. He previously served as the associate editor since 2014. He is a graduate of the LSU Manship School of Journalism.

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