Alabama travels to LSU on Saturday in an SEC showdown that will kick off at 7 p.m. and be broadcast by ESPN. Alabama was ranked No. 6 in the College Football Playoff rankings released Tuesday, while LSU was ranked No. 10. Alabama is 7-1 overall and 4-1 in the SEC, while LSU is 6-2 overall and 4-1 in the conference.
Saturday marks the 87th meeting between the teams, with Alabama holding a 55-26-5 edge. Beginning with their 21-0 win in the BCS Championship Game to end the 2011 season, the Crimson Tide have won 10 of the past 11 against the Tigers, including a 20-14 victory in Tuscaloosa in November. LSU’s only win in that span came during its 2019 national championship season, 46-41.
Alabama’s offense ranks in the top three in the SEC in yards per attempt and yards per rush in conference play. The Crimson Tide are coming off their worst output by yards of the season; Mississippi State held Alabama to 290 yards (including just 29 on the ground) two weeks ago, but the Crimson Tide still prevailed 30-6.
Aside from its 52-49 loss to Tennessee, Alabama’s defense has been tough to beat. SEC offenses are averaging just 4.6 yards per play against it, the best mark in the conference. The Crimson Tide do have the fewest turnovers forced in the league, with six in eight total games.
LSU’s running game rolled to a season-high 252 yards in a 45-20 win over Mississippi on Oct. 22. As a whole, the Tigers are seventh in SEC play in yards per play.
LSU’s defense has held opposing quarterbacks to a 56.6 percent completion rate, eight touchdowns and five interceptions. At times, the run defense has been more vulnerable; Tennessee and Florida combined for 473 yards and six touchdowns in back-to-back weeks in mid-October.
Players to watch
LSU quarterback Jayden Daniels, an Arizona State transfer, has only one interception in 239 pass attempts, throwing for 226.5 yards per game with 12 touchdowns. He’s also LSU’s most dangerous runner, leading the team with 524 yards and nine touchdowns.
Sophomore Malik Nabers has been his top target, with 36 receptions for 455 yards. Jaray Jenkins, a senior, leads the team with five receiving touchdowns. Linebacker Micah Baskerville (52 tackles) and defensive end BJ Ojulari (four sacks) lead the defense.
Reigning Heisman Trophy winner Bryce Young has 1,906 yards, 18 touchdowns and three interceptions in seven games this season. Running back Jahmyr Gibbs, a Georgia Tech transfer, leads the team with 672 rushing yards and 31 receptions.
Junior linebacker Will Anderson Jr. is tied for eighth nationally with 12 tackles for loss. Linebacker Henry To’oTo’o leads the Crimson Tide with 60 tackles.
Nick Saban is 190-26 in 16 seasons at Alabama and 281-68-1 overall. He was 48-16 in five seasons at LSU from 2000 to 2004 and is 12-4 against the Tigers as the Crimson Tide’s head coach.
Brian Kelly is 6-2 in Year 1 at LSU after a 113-40 stint at Notre Dame. Kelly was 0-2 against Saban’s Alabama with the Fighting Irish, losing the national title game to conclude the 2012 season and a College Football Playoff semifinal game two years ago.
Odds, predictions and more
(Photo of Nick Saban: Nelson Chenault / USA Today)
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