The rivalry between the #2 Alabama and LSU has been heated but one-sided within the past ten seasons. LSU has only beaten Alabama once in ten matchups, with that game being a 46-41 thriller in Tuscaloosa. Most rivalries are not defined by the production on the field; they are fueled by hatred. LSU head coach Ed Orgeron refueled that hatred in the rivalry in his famous postgame speech that irritated Alabama fans and players. Last season, Alabama dominated LSU in Baton Rouge 55-17 in a Heisman Trophy game statement for wide receiver DeVonta Smith. This season, Alabama looks to do the same against LSU with a Heisman Trophy statement performance with quarterback Bryce Young.
Alabama Ready For LSU In Tuscaloosa
Alabama can dismantle LSU through the passing game
Last year, the offense of Alabama accounted for 650 total yards against the inefficient defense of LSU. The Tide got 385 passing yards, with Smith catching eight receptions for 231 yards and three touchdowns. Smith’s performance was against the experienced defensive backs of LSU. This season, the Tide utilizes a highly efficient passing offense that ranks 10th in the nation in passing yards per game (309.4 yards) with Young at quarterback. LSU’s defense ranks 77th in the country in passing yards allowed per game (222.9), 11th in the SEC. They are also ranked 13th in the SEC, just ahead of Vanderbilt, in allowed quarterback passer rating. In addition, LSU lost their primary man coverage cornerbacks, including star cornerback Derek Stingley Jr. early this season and safety Major Burns.
Alabama can find a highly effective rhythm against the defense of LSU by spreading the ball throughout the field. Wide receiver John Metchie III has caught 52 receptions for 601 yards and five touchdowns. Jameson Williams has caught 35 receptions for 710 yards and six touchdowns on the other side of the offense. These are receivers that LSU will attempt to shut down through multiple double coverages and high safeties. This defensive coverage scheme will open up availability for players like Jojo Earle, tight end Cameron Latu, tight end Jahleel Billingsley, and running back Brian Robinson Jr. to get consistently open. These players could have notable performances in the passing game, with Young as the offensive leader. Young will have a huge statement in this rivalry and for the Heisman Trophy race as long as the offensive line can keep the pocket clean.
The Alabama Defense Needs To Torment Max Johnson
Alabama’s defense has stepped up tremendously after the disastrous performance in the 41-38 loss at Texas A&M. While the defense is still not perfect with their safeties giving up big plays, they have found the mentality they had earlier in the season of hunting down the quarterback and getting sacks. Alabama’s defense should not give LSU quarterback Max Johnson a chance to have a productive game by making sacks in the backfield. If not account for sacks, the pass rushers of Alabama can force Johnson to throw bad passes. LSU’s offense is one-dimensional this season as they rank 36th in passing yards per game (251.8) but 113th in rushing yards per game (112.5).
Alabama outside linebacker Will Anderson Jr. could have another huge game on Saturday. Anderson ties for second in the nation in sacks accounted for this season (8.5). He also accounted for 44 total tackles and 13 tackles for loss. Anderson is tasked with pressuring Johnson as much as possible against Alabama. The offensive line for LSU has allowed 21 sacks this season, with 18 of them on Johnson. Alabama’s defense’s most prominent area of concern is not giving the big passing plays through busted coverages, mainly from the safeties. As a result, Alabama ranks 53rd in the nation in passing yards allowed per game (200.8). If they cannot get better in defending against the deep passing game, Johnson could keep the game close.