LSU Tigers vs. Alabama Crimson Tide Complete Game Preview
It's not quite "The Game of the Century," but recently it's been a big affair when the Tide and Tigers square off on the football field.
This year, everything is on the line for unbeaten Alabama. LSU represents the second big challenge of the season for Alabama, who beat Texas A&M 49-42 earlier in the year.
For the Tigers, this game is all about revenge and spoiling an unbeaten season. Road losses to Georgia and Ole Miss have all but knocked LSU out of the SEC and BCS title races, but a win against Alabama would save its season.
Here's everything you need to know:
Date: Saturday, Nov. 9
Time: 7 p.m. CT
Place: Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, Ala.
Radio: Crimson Tide Sports Network, LSU Sports Radio Network
Spread: Alabama by 10.5 to 12.5 points, according to Vegas Insider
Alabama Keys to Victory
Cool Under Pressure
Alabama hasn't trailed in a game since going down 14-0 to Texas A&M on the road. The formula for coming back was simple—don't change a thing.
The Crimson Tide stuck to the formula that it knows can win—controlling the clock on offense and playing assignment football on defense.
The same thing happened last year at LSU, and Alabama came away victorious. Quarterback AJ McCarron led Alabama on an epic comeback drive that consisted of a series of short throws and concluded with a T.J. Yeldon screen pass.
Alabama never flinched then, and it can't flinch Saturday.
Stop the Run
It's a goal Alabama has every week, but it will be paramount on Saturday. Jeremy Hill is a beast of a running back and is the focal point of the Tigers offense. Keeping Hill under control will allow Alabama to focus on the task of shutting down Zach Mettenberger and the Tigers' passing game.
LSU Keys to Victory
LSU boasts a power run game led by Hill, who has amassed 922 yards and 12 touchdowns on 128 carries on the year. But quarterback Zach Mettenberger is one of the top quarterbacks in the SEC and the country and has a pair of stud receivers in Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham.
A balanced attack will keep the Alabama defense out of rhythm and give the Tigers the best chance to win.
Embrace the Moment
LSU coach Les Miles is famous for his willingness to do just about anything on the big stage, for better or for worse. There's no telling what Miles will pull out of his hat for this game, where his Tigers have nothing to lose.
Alabama Players to Watch
The unquestioned leader of Alabama this year has always kept his cool in big games, and the Crimson Tide follow his lead. He was calm in the biggest moments of last year's game, and there's no reason to believe he won't be this year.
Nick Saban has called him the quarterback of Alabama's defense. He will be center stage on Saturday. Alabama-LSU is always a physical game, and Mosley will need to make sure the Alabama defense gets the right calls in to stop LSU's dynamic offense.
LSU Players to Watch
The LSU quarterback will have a chance to put a signature victory on his resume before his senior year ends. The talented senior will lead an impressive offensive group onto the field against an Alabama defense that has been rock-solid of late.
Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham
LSU's two stud receivers could feast on an Alabama secondary that has been in flux all year. The pair is a matchup nightmare for opposing defenses and could make some game-breaking plays against the Tide secondary.
What They're Saying
Nick Saban had high praise for Alabama's offense, according to Charlie Potter of the Crimson White:
Saban also praised LSU quarterback Zach Mettenberger for the way he’s led his offense. He credited Mettenberger and running back Jeremy Hill with making LSU’s offense so dangerous this season.
“This is by far the most explosive, most talented offensive team that we’ve faced all year long,” Saban said.
Saban didn't watch the 60 Minutes piece on him, as he said to Marq Burnett of the Anniston Star:
We were obviously working last night until pretty late...we’ve had a lot of positive comments about the piece.
I did get a favorable comment from Miss Terry, so that means it must have been OK. It really represents not me, but the program and the players in the program and the things we do as a program whether it’s summer camp or whatever that we try to do the best we possibly can to help young players.
LSU is embracing its underdog role, according to Ross Dellenger of the Baton Rouge Advocate:
Anthony Johnson, LSU’s burly defensive tackle, said he doesn’t watch ESPN. The talking heads of the sports world are rarely on his television.
That didn’t stop the news from reaching him.
“A lot of people call me,” Johnson said.
Here’s what they’ve told him: Johnson and the 10th-ranked Tigers are whopping underdogs in Saturday’s game against top-ranked Alabama.
Johnson said: “We’re going to come out and shock the world.”
ESPN's Edward Aschoff says that Alabama-LSU is the biggest rivalry in college football:
Sit down, Michigan-Ohio State.
Take a back seat, Alabama-Auburn. Not so fast, Florida-Florida State. Try a little harder, Notre Dame-USC. Better luck next time, Oklahoma-Texas.
Although you're all amazing rivalry games, you just don't currently compare to the new rivalry in town: Alabama-LSU.
Take a look back at some of the biggest games of the Alabama-LSU rivalry.
Alabama 34, LSU 21
It will be a physical game, as it always is, but Alabama will come out on top. LSU will move the ball, but not as effectively as Alabama can.
The win will set up an Iron Bowl showdown that will decide the SEC West.