STOCK UP: Arden Key
The slow start to the season for the surefire first-round NFL Draft pack next spring seems a distant memory. Key was flying around all over the field on Saturday night, a constant menace to Alabama quarterback Jalen Hurts. Key missed the spring for undisclosed reasons and underwent shoulder surgery shortly after, packing on several pounds of bad weight. He began 2017 a step slow and 15 pounds overweight, but he was back to his old ways on Saturday, finishing with 8 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss, 0.5 sacks, and two quarterback hurries. Key only has three more games in purple and gold. Enjoy them while you can.
STOCK UP: Dave Aranda
Dear NFL general managers seeking a defensive coordinator: consider this a referral for LSU defensive coordinator Dave Aranda, who you should absolutely hire right now. I’ll take a five percent finder’s fee. Aranda dialed up another doozy in Tuscaloosa, a year after shutting out the Tide through three quarters. The Tide entered the game averaging 500 yards of offense, 12th-best nationally, and managed just 299 against Aranda’s men. LSU forced six three and outs and held Alabama to 3.2 yards per carry, half their season average of 6.34.
STOCK DOWN: Danny Etling
Danny Etling is a good quarterback. The 156.56 passer rating he entered Saturday’s game with is proof of that, as is the entire body of work he’s compiled at LSU. He is not, however, a great quarterback, and it takes great quarterbacks – or, at least, great performances from quarterbacks – to beat Alabama. Etling had some nice moments, including a good first half on third down throws, when he picked up five first downs through the air. But he misfired on several deep balls where an accurate throw would’ve lead to a big play or a score, and that – plus Jalen Hurts’ ability to make plays for his squad – was the difference in the game.
STOCK DOWN: LSU’s Remaining Schedule
Here’s the good news, Tiger fans: LSU should be favored in every game from this point forward. The Tigers will take on Arkansas at home next weekend, and the Razorbacks barely snuck past, of all foes, Coastal Carolina on Saturday, 39-38. Add in a road trip to Tennessee, led by lame duck head coach Butch Jones, and a home matchup with Texas A&M, led by lame duck head coach Kevin Sumlin, and Ed Orgeron’s squad should be looking at 9-3 by the end of the regular season. That’s no season for the record books, but it is a good start to Orgeron’s tenure, particularly when looked at in light of the Tigers’ sluggish start to the campaign.
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