Here's some cheese for your nachos.
The upcoming Alabama/LSU bye week is upon us. Which offense—Alabama's or LSU's—will score on either of these elite defenses? This subject might be enough to keep you on the edge of your recliner until the Nov. 5 matchup in Tuscaloosa.
If asked at the beginning of the 2011 football season, a feisty and definitive, "LSU" would have huffed out like a nagging cough. But that was before either team had mounted up stats as tall as Coach Paul "Bear" Bryant's tower (in its day). And that was before Alabama's A.J. McCarron (6'4, 205 pounds)—Bama's little known quarterback—began commanding the field like Gen. Patton, as he did on Saturday against Tennessee. That was before running back Trent Richardson plowed through defensive lines time and time again like a beastly monster in a low budget horror flick. That was before names like Maze and Bell and Hanks ran and scored like they were akin to the beastly monster, No. 3.
But let's cut out the drama and trash the speculation. And in all fairness and remaining unbiased in this cumulative look (through this weekend's games), let's make this fair. Comparing apples to apples, these stats might prompt you to grab that charge card and buy a very expensive ticket to the game. At the very least, they'll illicit one or two "holy cows."
In scoring, the numbers are close, but Bama dominates with 315 to LSU's 314. Opponents have scored only 55 points against Bama versus LSU's opponents, who scored 92. Bama leads in first downs: 175 to 166 (LSU). In rushing yardage, Bama gets the heads-up (1834 to 1512). In passing yardage, Bama again edges the Tigers, 1,827 to 1,465. LSU leads in Red Zone Touchdowns, with 79 percent, versus Alabama's 59 percent. LSU has scored more touchdowns, 41, versus Alabama's 40.
OK, so how about time of possession? Maybe that will show a definitive dominant offense. Not so. There's literally a minute and a half between the two teams. But Alabama is dominant in total offense per game, averaging 457.6 versus LSU's 372.1.
LSU has scored with its key players. It has scored without them. This team has garnered wins with one quarterback and with two, both of whom are proven and capable of throwing accurate, long, passes.
So which offense will score on elite defenses? Rather than elude the question altogether for fear of jinxing one or shunning the obvious, I'll say this: This game will come down to tenacity, poise, dominance and respectfully, statistics won't matter a lick. Alabama's talent should remind this LSU team that the 2009 swagger is back in Tuscaloosa.
You can bet your nachos on that.
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