Alabama Football: Will Fumbles Eventually Cost Crimson Tide?

Ryan RudnanskySenior Writer INovember 8, 2012

BATON ROUGE, LA - NOVEMBER 03:  T.J. Yeldon #4 of Alabama carries the ball against Craig Loston #6 of LSU at Tiger Stadium on November 3, 2012 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

There's not a whole lot to dislike about No. 1 Alabama this season, but one glaring weakness has been the Crimson Tide's susceptibility to fumbling the football.

Last season, when Trent Richardson was still with the team, the Crimson Tide had 12 fumbles. That was tied for third-fewest in the nation, per Furthermore, Alabama lost just four of those fumbles, which was tied for the fewest overall.

This season, with Eddie Lacy and T.J. Yeldon carrying the pigskin, the Crimson Tide have already racked up 16 fumbles. Through nine games, they are tied for 75th in the nation. That includes losing eight of them (tied for 61st).

While the fumbling problem wasn't much of a factor through the Crimson Tide's first eight games, it could have decided the game against LSU in Death Valley last week.

With just over three minutes remaining in the third quarter, Alabama was leading 14-10 and driving on the LSU 10-yard line.

That's when Yeldon fumbled.

LSU proceeded to go on a seven-play, 89-yard drive that culminated in a touchdown with 12:58 remaining in the game.

Alabama went three-and-out on its next two drives and all of a sudden found itself down 17-14 with 1:34 remaining.

It took a miraculous five-play, 72-yard drive (not to mention a Heisman contender in quarterback A.J. McCarron) for the Crimson Tide to come away with a thrilling 21-17 victory.

It's not very often that a team can be this careless carrying the pigskin and emerge unscathed.

Of the five remaining undefeated teams, only the Oregon Ducks have lost more fumbles than Alabama (10). On the other hand, having an offense as explosive as Oregon's helps, too (54.3 points per game, tops in the nation).

It's hard to imagine Alabama losing any of its remaining games against Texas A&M, Western Carolina or Auburn to close out the season.

However, if Alabama makes it to the BCS Championship Game, perhaps the fumbling issue poses a problem.

One thing's for sure: It could have easily gone LSU's way in Week 10.


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