Alabama vs LSU: Why Tigers' Rushing Attack Will Carry Them to BCS National Title

T.J. McaloonContributorJanuary 9, 2012

TUSCALOOSA, AL - NOVEMBER 05:  Michael Ford #42 of the LSU Tigers scores a touchdown in overtime that was called back after Ford stepped out of bounds against the Alabama Crimson Tide at Bryant-Denny Stadium on November 5, 2011 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Tonight’s Bowl Championship Series national championship game will have the same result as the first meeting between LSU and Alabama back in November. It will have a dominant performance from LSU’s running game, as the Tigers will rush for more than 150 yards in another victory over the Crimson Tide. 

In their last meeting, LSU’s rushing game helped push the Tigers into field goal range for three easy conversions on three attempts. They rushed for 146 yards on 41 attempts, averaging 3.6 yards per carry. 

For LSU to gain that many yards on the ground was a testament to how good this Tigers’ rushing attack was this year. Against every other team, Alabama’s rushing defense, which was ranked No. 1 in college football, only gave up only 68 yards per game. 

In their first meeting, LSU was led by running back Michael Ford, who had 72 yards on only 11 carries. Ford was able to rip off 6.5 yards per carry, against an Alabama rushing defense that only gave up 2.5 yards per carry to other running backs. 

Ford’s huge game shouldn’t have been that big of a surprise to LSU, or Alabama fans. For the year, Ford has been a solid running back, gaining 755 yards on 123 carries,averaging 6.1 yards per carry. 

However, when the stakes have been the highest, Ford has shown up with some of his biggest games. 

In LSU’s first game against Oregon, Ford went off for 96 rushing yards on 14 carries with two touchdowns. He was a huge reason why the Tigers were able to control the game clock against the Ducks. LSU had a six-minute advantage over Oregon. 

Ford will carry the bulk of the load for LSU in tonight’s BCS National Championship Game, and unlike their first meeting, he will get into the end zone tonight. 

With his running style, it will open the door for quarterback Jordan Jefferson to break off a couple of big runs like he did in LSU’s final home game against Arkansas. 

However, even if Alabama is able to contain Ford and Jefferson, Kenny Hilliard will come in to break this game open. 

In the two games leading into the BCS national championship game, Hilliard has rushed 174 yards, three touchdowns and is averaging 6.4 yards per carry and 87 yards per game.

Hilliard had no effect in their first meeting, gaining only two yards on two carries, but could have a major effect in tonight’s game. 

Alabama will do a great job in keeping this game close. However, because of LSU’s many rushing options, the Crimson Tide will be worn down, which will lead to LSU capturing another BCS championship in New Orleans.