LSU vs. Alabama: Live Game Grades and Analysis for the Crimson Tide

Sanjay KirpalaniNational Recruiting AnalystNovember 9, 2013

Alabama's defense harassed LSU QB Zach Mettenberger in the second half en route to pulling away for a 38-17 victory.
Alabama's defense harassed LSU QB Zach Mettenberger in the second half en route to pulling away for a 38-17 victory.Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Alabama (9-0, 6-0) defeats LSU (7-3, 3-3) in a battle for the top of the SEC Western Division standings.

Final: Alabama 38, LSU 17

For the full box score, check out

Alabama Crimson Tide Game Grades
Position UnitFirst Half GradeFinal Grade
Pass OffenseBB
Rush OffenseBA
Pass DefenseDC
Rush DefenseBA
Special TeamsBB
vs. LSU

Final analysis for the Alabama Crimson Tide

Pass Offense: Alabama didn’t light up LSU’s secondary as Georgia and Ole Miss was able to do. However, AJ McCarron turned in another efficient performance going 14-of-20 for 179 yards and three scores. The Tide’s receivers made enough key plays when it mattered most.

Run Offense: The Tide’s offensive line stepped up their level of physicality in the second half. Yeldon and Drake combined to run 35 times for 198 yards and two touchdowns. Like the entire offense’s performance, it wasn’t pretty, but it was effective.

Pass Defense: If there’s one unit that remains a concern for Saban moving forward, it has to be the secondary. Zach Mettenberger was strong early, but the Tide’s defensive line harassed him in the second half and stifled the Tigers comeback attempt.

Run Defense: Similar to their offensive counterparts, the defensive front seven played much better against the run in the second half. LSU finished with just 43 yards rushing, and was made one-dimensional for a majority of the second half.

Special Teams: Nick Saban fake punt call midway through the third quarter was the game’s most critical play. However, the kickoff coverage unit struggled in containing Odell Beckham Jr.

Coaching: Credit Saban for making the necessary adjustments to stifle LSU’s momentum in the third quarter. Saban’s gutsy gamble changed the momentum and helped his team earn a huge win.

TUSCALOOSA, AL - NOVEMBER 09:  T.J. Yeldon #4 of the Alabama Crimson Tide scores a touchdown in the third quarter against the LSU Tigers at Bryant-Denny Stadium on November 9, 2013 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

First-Half Analysis for Alabama Crimson Tide

Pass Offense: AJ McCarron had a rusty first quarter but rebounded in a major way in the second. McCarron went 9-of-13 for 129 yards, including a pair of touchdown passes in the second quarter that gave the Tide their halftime cushion.

Run Offense: The combo of T.J. Yeldon and Kenyan Drake ran hard, and Drake in particular seemed to spark the offense in the second quarter. The two combined to rush 13 times for 72 yards.

Pass Defense: LSU quarterback Zach Mettenberger shredded the Tide’s secondary last season, and he’s picked up where he left off through the first two periods. The Tide’s defense has especially struggled on third down, where LSU converted six of its seven attempts.

Run Defense: The Tigers were effective running the ball early on with backs Jeremy Hill and Terrence Magee. The Tide did a better job up front in the second quarter. Magee and Hill combined to net 64 yards on their 16 carries.

Special Teams: The punt coverage units have been outstanding, but a huge return from Odell Beckham Jr. set up LSU’s first touchdown. Cade Foster hit a 41-yard field goal for Alabama’s first points.

Coaching: Alabama came out flat, and if not for two LSU turnovers, things could look a lot different. Saban has to make adjustments at the break, especially on defense.