Alabama vs. LSU: Keys for Tigers to Get Redemption vs. Tide

Matt FitzgeraldCorrespondent IIINovember 3, 2012

NEW ORLEANS, LA - JANUARY 09:  Head coach Nick Saban of the Alabama Crimson Tide shakes hands with head coach Les Miles of the Louisiana State University Tigers afterthe 2012 Allstate BCS National Championship Game at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on January 9, 2012 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Alabama won the game by a score of 21-0. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Chris Graythen/Getty Images

Les Miles' No. 5 LSU Tigers will look to get redemption when they take on top-ranked Alabama in a BCS National Championship rematch on Saturday night.

Both teams have very similar styles, but Alabama is slightly better on paper in almost every measurable way. It will take a genius, unconventional scheme from the Mad Hatter to pull the home upset.

Here is a closer look at the keys for a Tigers victory.

Throw on First Down, Early and Often

Keeping Alabama on its toes will be key for the Tigers, as will building the confidence of struggling QB Zach Mettenberger. Atlhough the junior hasn't been an absolute disaster under center, he is still significantly behind the curve when compared to his counterpart, AJ McCarron.

A great way to get Mettenberger going would be to capitalize on his cannon arm by launching the ball down the field.

Forcing Crimson Tide defenders out of the box will be a must, despite how successful LSU's running game has been. Completing a few deep ones early could go a long way in keeping McCarron and Co. off the Tigers' home turf.

When Mettenberger is on, he can fit the ball into any window.

Throwing quick slants to move the ball early wouldn't be a bad idea. Play-action must be utilized effectively, and Mettenberger must make the right decisions with the football.

The Tigers might as well unleash their quarterback to see if he can continue to be "the man" into his final collegiate season. This could be the game that Mettenberger finally comes into his own, but offensive coordinator Greg Studrawa must allow him to take shots.

Continue Feeding Jeremy Hill

As WAFB Baton Rouge reported, Hill has endured some off-field issues over the past year but has been redeemed on the field with the ample opportunities he's been given the past two weekends.

The freshman running back has two 100-plus yard games in marquee SEC matchups against Texas A&M and South Carolina.

That must continue for the Tigers to have a chance in this one.

Unfortunately, no one has been able to run the ball on the Tide this season, as they give up just over 57 yards per game.

Hill has softened the blow of Alfred Blue's absence in the backfield in averaging a team-high 6.7 yards per carry. His ability to take a pounding will help keep teammates Kenny Hilliard and Michael Ford fresh.

The Tigers will need all three of their backs to establish some semblance of a running game. Although Mettenberger should start out the game slinging it around the field, it will come down to Hill in particular to finish out the game against such a physical defense.

Get Pressure on AJ McCarron

Barkevious Mingo and Sam Montgomery, I'm talking to you.

Both are considered surefire NFL prospects, and they'll need to play like it against a pro-caliber offensive line.

The LSU pass rush must get in the face of the extremely intelligent Alabama QB and force him into uncharacteristically poor decisions. By uncharacteristic, I mean...well, McCarron pretty much never makes a bad decision. He hasn't thrown an interception in all of 2012, and it's not like he's dinking and dunking the entire time, either.

There is a clear mismatch at the game's most important position, and it will be up to the front seven of LSU to apply some heat in the pocket. As huge as the Bama bigs are—anchored by center Barrett Jones—the Tigers need to throw every exotic blitz package, and the kitchen sink, at McCarron.

It will be hard enough to stop the two-headed monster of Eddie Lacy and T.J. Yeldon in the Tide backfield, so McCarron must be knocked off of his spot.