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Alabama vs. LSU: Complete Game Preview

Sanjay KirpalaniNational Recruiting AnalystOctober 7, 2016

Alabama vs. LSU: Complete Game Preview

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    For the third time in less than a year, the eyes of the college football universe will once again focus on two programs that have engulfed the rest of the sport for the last two seasons—Alabama and LSU. 

    The two SEC West powerhouses have split the last six meetings, but the Crimson Tide own the most recent and most important victory after defeating the Tigers 21-0 in January’s BCS national title game. 

    Both Nick Saban and Les Miles bring clubs ranked inside the Top Five into the latest meeting between the two rivals, which raises the stakes considerably for a pair of teams with national title aspirations. 

    Can Alabama roll over the Bayou Bengals once again, or will another vaunted opponent’s dreams die on Saturday night inside Death Valley?

    Find out everything you need to know about the meeting between the Crimson Tide and the Tigers in this complete game preview.  

Game-Day Info

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    Who: Alabama at LSU

    When: Saturday, 8 p.m. (EDT)

    Where: Baton Rouge, LA.

    Stadium: Tigers Stadium, (92,542)

    TV: CBS

    Radio: Crimson Tide Sports Network, Sirius Channel 91, XM Channel 91

    Internet Stream: CBSSports.com

Depth Chart for Alabama

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    Offense

    LT – 71 – Cyrus Kouandijo, SO (6’6”, 311)

    63 – Kellen Williams, JR (6’3”, 303)

     

    LG – 65 – Chance Warmack, SR (6’3”, 320)

    78 – Chad Lindsay, SO (6’2”, 290)

     

    C – 75 – Barrett Jones, SR (6’5”, 302)

    70 – Ryan Kelly, FR (6’5”, 288)

     

    RG – 61 – Anthony Steen, JR (6’3”, 303)

    77 – Arie Kouandijo, SO (6’5, 310)

     

    RT – 76 – D.J. Fluker, JR (6’6”, 335)

    79 – Austin Shepherd, SO (6’5”, 312)

     

    TE – 89 – Michael Williams, SR (6’6”, 269)

    84 – Brian Vogler, SO (6’7”, 258)

     

    H – 31 – Kelly Johnson, SR (6’3”, 230)

    82 – Harrison Jones, SO (6’4”, 244)

    21 – Brent Calloway, FR (6’1”, 217)

     

    QB – 10 – AJ McCarron, JR (6’4”, 205)

    12 – Phillip Ely, FR (6’1”, 198) OR

    6 – Blake Sims, SO (6’0”, 182)

     

    RB – 42 – Eddie Lacy, JR (6’0”, 220)

    4 – T.J. Yeldon, FR (6’2”, 216)

    17 – Kenyan Drake, FR (6’1”, 204)

     

    WR (X) – 9 – Amari Cooper, FR (6’1”, 198)

    80 – Marvin Shinn, FR (6’3”, 198)

     

    WR (Z) – 83 – Kevin Norwood, JR (6’2”, 195)

    7 – Kenny Bell, JR (6’1”, 180)

     

    WR (H) – 22 – Christion Jones, SO (5’11, 185)

    8 – Cyrus Jones, FR (5’10”, 192)

     

    Defense

    DE – 49 – Ed Stinson, JR (6’4”, 282)

    8 – Jeoffrey Pagan, SO (6’4”, 285)

     

    NG – 54 – Jesse Williams, SR (6’4”, 320)

    62 – Brandon Ivory, SO (6’4”, 315)

     

    DE – 92 – Damion Square, SR (6’3”, 286)

    90 – Quinton Dial, SR (6’6”, 304)

     

    Sam OLB – 42 – Adrian Hubbard, SO (6’6”, 248)

    19 – Jonathan Atchison, JR (6’3”, 236)

     

    Mike ILB – 33 – Trey Depriest, SO (6’2”, 245), or 35 – Nico Johnson, SR (6’3”, 245)

    18 – Reggie Ragland, FR (6’2”, 247)

     

    Will ILB – 35 – Nico Johnson, SR (6’3”, 245). or 32 – C.J. Mosley, JR (6’2”, 232)

    11 – Tana Patrick, JR (6’3”, 236)

     

    Jack OLB – 47 – Xzavier Dickson, SO (6’3”, 262)

    30 – Denzel Devall, FR (6’2”, 243)

     

    CB – 28 – Dee Milliner, JR (6’1”, 199)

    10 – John Fulton, JR (6’0”, 187)

     

    CB – 13 – Deion Belue, JR (5’11”, 179)

    24 – Geno Smith, FR (6’0”, 182)

     

    SS – 37 – Robert Lester, SR (6’2”, 210)

    3 – Vinnie Sunseri, SO (6’0”, 215)

     

    FS –6 – HaHa Clinton-Dix, SO (6’1”, 209) OR 27 – Nick Perry, JR (6’1”, 208)

    26 – Landon Collins, FR (6’0”, 202)

     

    Special Teams

    PK – 5 – Jeremy Shelley, SR (5’10”, 165), or 43 – Cade Foster, JR (6’1, 218)

     

    KO – 43 – Cade Foster, JR (6’1”, 218)

     

    HOLD – 10 – AJ McCarron, JR (6’4”, 210)

    3 – Vinnie Sunseri, SO (6’0”, 215)

     

    P – 29 – Cody Mandell, JR (6’4”, 202)

    5 – Jeremy Shelley, SR (5’10”, 165)

     

    SN – 51 – Carson Tinker, SR (6’1”, 220)

    31 – Kelly Johnson, SR (6’3”, 230)

     

    PR – 22 – Christion Jones, SO (5’11”, 185)

    8 – Cyrus Jones, FR (5’10”, 192)

     

    KR – 22 – Christion Jones, SO (5’11”, 185)

    28 – Dee Milliner, JR (6’1”, 199)

    8 – Cyrus Jones, FR (5’10”, 192)

    83 – Kevin Norwood, JR (6’2”, 195)

Depth Chart for LSU

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    Offense

    X – 82 – James Wright, JR (6’2”, 203)

    86 – Kadron Boone, JR (6’0”, 207)

     

    LT – 68 –Josh Dworacyzk, SR (6’6”, 300)

    73 – Chris Davenport, JR (6’4”, 330)

    65 – Jerald Hawkins, FR (6’6”, 300)

     

    LG – 70 – La’el Collins, SO (6’5”, 321)

    68 –Josh Dworacyzk, SR (6’6”, 300)

    71 – Jonah Austin, FR (6’6”, 329)

     

    C – 64 – P.J. Lonergan, SR (6’4”, 305)

    55 – Elliott Porter, SO (6’4”, 300)

     

    RG – 74 – Josh Williford, JR (6’7”, 334) –OR—

    56 – Trai Turner, FR (6’3”, 306)

     

    RT – 78 – Vadal Alexander, FR (6’6”, 350)

    55 – Elliott Porter, SO (6’4”, 300)

     

    Y – 88 – Chase Clement, SR (6’5”, 265)

    84 – Nic Jacobs, SO (6’5”, 265)

    41 – Travis Dickson, SO (6’3”, 230)

     

    Z – 3 – Odell Beckham, Jr., SO (6’0”, 187)

    10 – Russell Shepard, SR (6’1”, 195)

    14 – Terrence Magee, SO (5’9”, 212)

     

    3-Wide – 80 – Jarvis Landry, SO (6’0”, 195)

     

    QB – 8 – Zach Mettenberger, JR (6’5”, 230)

    17 – Stephen Rivers, FR (6’8”, 225)

    1 – Rob Bolden, JR (6’4”, 208)

     

    RB – 11 – Spencer Ware, JR (5’11”, 225) –OR—

    27 – Kenny Hilliard, SO (6’0”, 231) –OR—

    42 – Michael Ford, JR (5’10”, 216) –OR—

    33 – Jeremy Hill, FR (6’2”, 235)

     

    FB – 44 – J.C. Copeland, SR (6’1”, 272)

    43 – Connor Neighbors, SO (5’11”, 236)

     

    Defense

    LE – 49 – Barkevious Mingo, JR (6’5”, 240)

    89 – Lavar Edwards, SR (6’5”, 258)

    59 – Jermauria Rasco, SO (6’3”, 255)

     

    LT – 90 – Anthony Johnson, SO (6’3”, 304) –OR—

    77 – Josh Downs, SR (6’1”, 287)

    9 – Ego Ferguson, SO (6’3”, 308)

     

    RT – 18 – Bennie Logan, JR (6’3”, 295)

    9 – Ego Ferguson, SO (6’3”, 308)

    95 – Quentin Thomas, FR (6’3”, 294)

     

    RE – 99 – Sam Montgomery, JR (6’5”, 260)

    89 – Lavar Edwards, SR (6’5”, 258)

    87 – Chancey Aghayere, SR (6’4”, 266)

     

    SAM – 23 – Lamar Louis, FR (6’0”, 220)

    52 – Luke Muncie, JR (6’3”, 210)

     

    MIKE– 46 – Kevin Minter, JR (6’2”, 245)

    22 – Ronnie Feist, FR (6’2”, 230)

    51 – Trey Granier, FR (6’1”, 227)

     

    WILL – 57 – Lamin Barrow, JR (6’2”, 229)

    45 – Deion Jones, FR (6’2”, 202)

    35 – Lorenzo Phillips, FR (6’2”, 215)

     

    LCB – 28 – Jalen Mills, FR (6’0”, 185)

    32 – Jalen Collins, FR (6’2”, 195)

     

    SS – 6 – Craig Loston, JR (6’2”, 205)

    34 – Micah Eugene, FR (5’11”, 190)

    12 – Corey Thompson, FR (6’2”, 210)

     

    FS – 1 – Eric Reid, JR (6’2”, 212)

    26 – Ronald Martin, SO (6’1”, 202)

     

    CB – 24 – Tharold Simon, JR (6’3”, 187)

    13 – Dwayne Thomas, FR (6’0”, 175)

    19 – Derrick Raymond, FR (6’1”, 175)

     

    Nickel – 34 – Micah Eugene, FR (5’11”, 190)

     

    Special Teams

    PK – 30 – Drew Alleman, SR (5’11”, 183)

    30 – James Hairston, SO (6’1”, 220)

     

    KOS – 30 – James Hairston, SO (6’1”, 220)

    30 – Drew Alleman, SR (5’11”, 183)

     

    P – 38 – Brad Wing, SO (6’3”, 197)

    38 – Jamie Keehn, FR (6’4”, 222)

     

    DS – 50 – Reid Ferguson, FR (6’2”, 225)

    53 – Logan Boudreaux, FR (5’11”, 215)

     

    Holder –38 – Brad Wing, SO (6’3”, 197)

    48 – Seth Fruge, JR (5’11”, 189)

     

    PR – 3 – Odell Beckham, Jr., SO (6’0”, 187)

    80 – Jarvis Landry, SO (6’0”, 195)

     

    KOR – 42 – Michael Ford, JR (5’10”, 216)

    80 – Jarvis Landry, SO (6’0”, 195)

    3 – Odell Beckham, Jr., SO (6’0”, 187) 

What Happened to Alabama Last Week

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    Alabama scored on its opening drive against No. 11 Mississippi State and never looked back, as it pummeled the Bulldogs 38-7. 

    The argument can be made that last weekend’s win was the Tide’s most impressive to date, with all three phases excelling against the Bulldogs. 

    The defense smothered Bulldogs stars LaDarius Perkins and Tyler Russell—which led to MSU’s offense posting its worst effort of the season—while A.J. McCarron helped the Tide pile up 414 yards of total offense in fairly easy fashion. 

    The win moved Alabama to 8-0 and helped the Tide pad its cushion atop the BCS Standings.  

What Happened to LSU Last Week

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    Miles and the Tigers enjoyed a much-needed bye week after facing three consecutive ranked opponents to close October. 

    The extra week to prepare for a visit from the nation’s top team can’t hurt. 

    Despite being idle, LSU moved up to No. 5 in the latest BCS standings.  

What It Means for Both Teams

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    In short, this is a season-defining game for Alabama and LSU.  

    A spot in Atlanta for the SEC title (and what has recently amounted to a golden ticket stub for entry in the BCS national championship game) is essentially on the line for both the Tide and the Tigers—with the winner likely to claim the SEC West.   

    This game was circled by fans on the bayou seconds after the clock struck zero in the Superdome nearly 11 months ago. 

    With LSU already having a loss on its resume, the Tigers' BCS dreams are dead should they again fall short against the Tide. 

    Meanwhile, Alabama can drive another stake in the heart of its nemesis and end the debate for SEC and national supremacy if it can snap its rival’s 22-game winning streak at home.   

Key Player for Alabama

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    Moreso than any contest on its schedule, this matchup will be decided in the trenches with both schools possessing a wealth of NFL-caliber talent on both lines. 

    With Tigers quarterback Zach Mettenberger’s inability to drive the ball downfield with any consistency, expect Alabama’s top-rated defense to focus on stopping the run.

    Senior defensive tackle Jesse Williams has wreaked havoc all season long in the middle of Alabama’s defensive line—which is allowing opposing rushers less than two yards per carry on the season. 

    With every yard in this game figuring to come with a price, expect Williams and his cohorts up front to bring their hard hats for what should be a slugfest between two heavyweights.  

Key Player for LSU

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    LSU’s deep complement of defensive linemen gets most of the credit for the Tigers ferocious defense, but linebacker Kevin Minter has quietly enjoyed a monster season for a team that ranks third nationally in total defense.

    The junior will have his hands full trying to slow down Tide running backs Eddie Lacy and T.J. Yeldon—each of whom are averaging more than five yards per carry this season. 

    Minter—who averages nearly 10 tackles per game—is a complete linebacker who is adept at blitzing (three sacks, nine tackles for loss) and holding his own in coverage (four pass breakups and an interception).

    The Tigers will need a monster effort from the 6’2”, 245-pounder if they want to knock off the defending national champions.  

Alabama Will Win If ...

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    Alabama will win if it can stuff LSU’s running game and put this game on the arm of Mettenberger. 

    The Tide used that formula to hold the Tigers to 91 yards of total offense in January, and there is little reason to believe that LSU’s offense has improved significantly from last season. 

    By contrast, Alabama’s offense is considerably more explosive than last season’s unit, and the Tide are better equipped to attack an elite defense like they will face on Saturday evening. 

    If Alabama’s offensive line can keep McCarron upright against the vaunted Tigers' defensive end tandem of Barkevious Mingo and Sam Montgomery, the Tide’s signal-caller should make enough plays to earn a hard-fought victory. 

LSU Will Win If ...

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    The Tigers will win if they can become the first SEC team to end up on the right side of the turnover margin against the Tide this season.   

    LSU’s formula in last season’s 9-6 overtime win in Tuscaloosa appears to be its best chance at pulling the upset.  

    If the Tigers can force timely turnovers and win the special teams battle, that would ease the pressure on its offense to force things against the Tide’s rugged defense. 

    LSU will need to catch some breaks, but as the Tigers have proven time and again under Miles, they are more than capable of finding ways to win big games at home.  

Prediction

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    This game is once again the most anticipated SEC showdown of the season, and with good reason.

    While both defenses are good enough to take over a big game like this, Alabama’s biggest advantage lies with its explosive offensive attack—which has scored more than 30 points in every game this season.

    Winning in an environment like Death Valley is certainly not an easy task, but the Tide has the right mix of talent, leadership and a coaching staff that will amply prepare them for what they will see on Saturday night.

    LSU will fight tooth and nail, and I certainly expect this to be different from every other Alabama game this year, in that this one should see the Tide playing meaningful snaps in the fourth quarter.

    However, in the end, I expect the Tide to wear down the Tigers and grind out their ninth victory.

    Prediction: Alabama 23, LSU 10

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