11.3.18 LSU vs Alabama

LSU junior defensive end Breiden Fehoko (91) prepares for play during the Tigers’ 29-0 loss against Alabama on Saturday, Nov. 3, 2018, in Tiger Stadium.

The trenches.

Where boys become men and wars are won and lost.

A thin line that separates the good from the evil. A border that symbolizes the end for any incoming enforcer.

On Saturday in Bryant-Denny Stadium, the thin one-inch line of scrimmage will be the battleground to decide which team will be the favorite to hoist the National Championship Trophy in January.

People avoid calling this game a rivalry, and, unfortunately, there is a major case for this point.

The Tigers have not beaten Alabama since 2011 when a grueling 9-6 game ended up giving both teams an inside track to the National Championship game. The Tide defeated LSU 21-0 in the rematch, setting off a dominant eight-game win streak over the Tigers.

Since 2015, most of the contests between the Tide and the Tigers have been more hype than substance with Alabama outscoring LSU 83-26. Most importantly, a Steve Ensminger-led offense has never scored a single point against Alabama.

This game will renew the rivalry that is the best in college football for a multitude of reasons.

This is not the same Tide defense that has dominated in years past. It has allowed over 100 yards rushing in every game this season except one and allow 4.54 yards per play.

LSU rushed for over 180 yards against the best defensive line in the country in Auburn two weeks ago. This could be an opportunity for junior running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire and freshman running back

Tyrion Davis-Price to make a lasting impact on this rivalry.

Secondly, the LSU offense is led by the best quarterback in the nation, Joe Burrow, and will throw the football like Alabama has never seen from an LSU offense.

While Ensminger is back in the booth for another try, he now has a companion who will not allow this scoreless streak to continue.

In his first season as passing game coordinator, Joe Brady has been the godsend that the Tiger offense has needed for years. He continues to utilize every athlete clad in purple and gold to fantastic results.

Burrow will not be afraid in this matchup after having a year of experience and three wide receivers that are only matched by Alabama’s Henry Ruggs III, DeVonta Smith and Jerry Judy.

Ja’Marr Chase, Justin Jefferson and Terrace Marshall can match up with the big three above and provide the spark that is needed late in the game.

Lastly, this is a more tested and tougher LSU team than in years past.

The Tigers have beaten an aspiring Texas group on the road, a Gator squad that still ranks in the top ten and an Auburn team that has shown they have what it takes to end the year as the top defensive team in the nation.

The only major win that Alabama can boast at this point in the season is against an unranked Texas A&M squad that sits fourth in the SEC West.

With these points in play, it comes down to one thing: the trenches.

LSU cannot lose its identity as a passing power, but Edwards-Helaire is the key to victory as the running game opens everything else up on the offensive side of the ball.

The offensive line needs to supply the run to make pass protection easier for Burrow to deliver the ball to his athletes in space.

The trenches are going to turn these boys into men and will renew this historic rivalry, but LSU will have to bring everything they can muster to escape Tuscaloosa with the win.

At the end of the day, Coach Ed Orgeron said it best:

“We’re coming, and we ain’t backing down.”

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