LSU Football: If Defense so Good Without Tyrann Mathieu, What Is Alabama in For?

Jayson LoveCorrespondent IOctober 23, 2011

LSU's Tyranna Mathieu missed Saturday's game against Auburn due to suspension
LSU's Tyranna Mathieu missed Saturday's game against Auburn due to suspensionKevin C. Cox/Getty Images

We are just two weeks away from the most anticipated game of the season, and both teams have a bye week to prepare.

On November 5th, Alabama will take on LSU, matching up the BCS No. 2 and No. 1 in Tuscaloosa.

This Saturday, LSU crushed Auburn 45-10, allowing just 10 points on defense despite playing without suspended defensive backs Tharold Simon and future NFL DB Tyrann Mathieu. 

Mathieu has two interceptions on the season and has recovered two fumbles.

Usually, when two DBs sit—especially when one of them is a superstar—the defense suffers badly. 

However, this was not the case for LSU.

Clint Mosely was only able to manage 145 passing yards, throwing an interception as well.

LSU also sacked Auburn quarterbacks six times and forced two fumbles on the afternoon.

LSU's defense will be a major problem for Alabama in the matchup in two weeks.

Especially when you consider that Alabama's offense struggled mightily in the first half against Tennessee, scoring just six points, and were locked in a 6-6 tie with the Vols at the half.

By the numbers, LSU's Mathieu is spectacular.  He's amassed 43 tackles, has picked up 1.5 sacks from his cornerback position and has managed to force three fumbles.

He took two of his fumble recoveries into the end zone, including a strip sack of Kentucky quarterback Maxwell Smith.

His teammates know his value as well.  In an article by Jim Kleinpeter of the Times Picayune, teammate Tharold Simon (who was also suspended for the Auburn game) said, "He just has a knack for finding the ball, or the ball finding him."

LSU was just as impressive on defense without this top-tier playmaker, but assuming that they do have him back for the matchup with Alabama, can you imagine what this defense will look like?

Alabama quarterback A.J. McCarron will truly have his hands full.

He will need to keep his focus all over the field to figure out where this sensational playmaker is located at all times.

He is a factor in the coverage scheme, but as he demonstrated against Kentucky, he is just as liable to use his speed on a blitz and turn the game on a strip sack.

Without him, LSU's defense was darn good—with him, they are truly scary for opponents.