LSU vs. Alabama Rematch: Can Either Team Survive Digging an Early Hole?

Johnathan CaceCorrespondent IJanuary 6, 2012

ATLANTA, GA - DECEMBER 03:  Tyrann Mathieu #7 of the LSU Tigers against the Georgia Bulldogs during the 2011 SEC Championship Game at Georgia Dome on December 3, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

LSU and Alabama have already played this year and, with a score of 9-6 in overtime, most people think the game will be more of the same.

However, the rematch doesn’t have to be more of the same thing. One team could pretty easily jump out to an early lead with a big play or two.

Should that happen, would either team be able to mount a comeback?

LSU could but Alabama will be squarely behind the eight-ball.

LSU’s offense runs on controlling the clock and moving the football on the ground, as does Alabama’s. However, the difference between the two teams is the style of defense and special teams that the Tigers play.

Their offense is predicated on getting good field position which is set up by special teams and big plays on defense. They are first in the nation in turnover margin and second in net punting, which explains how they can rank 12th in the country in points scored but 74th in yards per game.

That’s how LSU gets you. You think you’re doing well and holding their offense, but Brad Wing and the punt coverage unit keeps pushing you back until a guy like the Honey Badger comes in and makes a big play. All of a sudden, the ball is at your own 20.

Alabama has decent special teams this year and ranks 26th in turnover margin to keep the slow bleed LSU likes to put on people to a minimum, but the offense is just not built to make a comeback unaided.

Quarterback A.J. McCarron has had a good season and Marquis Maze and Darius Hanks are both quality receivers, but none of these players have the explosiveness necessary to make the big plays to come from behind. Trent Richardson can only work with what he is given by the Tide’s offensive line and the third best rush defense in the country won’t let him gain yards in big chunks.

If Alabama gets down by double digits, the game is essentially over considering how good LSU’s defense is, but that doesn’t hold true in reverse.