LSU vs. Florida

LSU football sophomore quarterback Max Johnson (14) yells a play to his team Saturday, Oct. 16, 2021, during LSU's 49-42 win against Florida at Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge, La.

This Saturday, LSU will be taking on an Alabama team that is fresh off being ranked the No. 2 team in the country. Bama is Bama, and LSU will not be given much chance heading into this game. LSU is currently 28.5 point underdogs being given a 10% chance to win by ESPN. But why is it so low? Alabama has lost this year. Are they the same team as always? 

Alabama's Offense Key Stats

*ranks are out of 130 (all stats courtesy of ESPN and NCAA)

Total Offense: 10th

Passing Offense: 11th

Rushing Offense: 59th

3rd Down Conversion %: 1st (58.3%)

Offensive Efficiency: 2nd

Time of Possession: 13th

In typical Alabama fashion, they have a dominant offense being run by a former high-profile coach. Bill O’Brien is a name that’s been thrown around for LSU’s upcoming vacancy, so fans may want to keep an extra eye on the offense in this weekend’s game. O’Brien hasn’t done much to change Alabama’s usual scheme, and like usual, is just using the insane talent he has on call however it fits them best.

Bryce Young has stepped into the starting role for the first time this year and has worked his way into being the Heisman favorite. Young has thrown for almost 2,500 yards and has a 26 to 3 touchdown to interception ratio. Young should have one of his easier matchups this week because of how many LSU defensive backs are out.

Speaking of taking advantage of secondary injuries, Bama shockingly has an unfair wide receiver group. Jameson Williams is a future top-20 NFL pick; he is currently second in the SEC in receiving yards behind Treylon Burks. His speed could prove deadly for LSU. John Metchie is sixth in the SEC in receiving and is an all-around playmaker. They’ve had some injury issues at TE, but have a ton of talent there too.

Robinson Jr. has run the ball well behind an offensive line who is being coached by former NFL head coach Doug Marrone. Brian Robinson Jr. versus Damone Clark could be the most fun matchup on the field all day. Clark has come into his own in the latter half of the season, and Robinson Jr. is a big dude who is hard to take down. The 6-foot, 1-inch, 228-pound back is first in the SEC in rushing touchdowns with 10. The run game is clearly the weak link in Alabama’s offense,, so LSU can’t let it get out of hand if they want to have a chance. Take what they give you, and don’t let them have a better game than usual on the ground.

 Alabama’s Defense Key Stats

*ranks are out of 130 (all stats courtesy of ESPN and NCAA)

Total Defense: 13th

Passing Defense: 53rd

Rushing Defense: 4th

3rd Down Conversion % Allowed: Tied 25th (34%)

Turnovers Caused: Tied 11th

Sacks: Tied 26th

Tackles for Loss: Tied 33rd

Defensive Efficiency Grade: 5th

Hammond, Louisiana native Pete Golding is in his third season as defensive coordinator. So LSU has not only seen his schemes before, but they have beaten him. Now, we know this team is nothing like 2019, but it is worth mentioning. Golding’s defenses have not been known to be the best tacklers. LSU has some elusive players who could get free to create some offense.

Alabama has one of the best players in the country in EDGE defender Will Anderson Jr., who has amassed 13 tackles for loss and 7.5 sacks. He will look to get to Max Johnson frequently. The LSU offensive line hasn’t looked as bad as it did to start the year, but I don’t have much faith in them to keep Will Anderson quiet for four quarters. They’ll also have Phidarian Mathis and Byron Young on the defensive line making impacts.

Linebackers Christian Harris and Henry To'oto'o make up one of the smartest and most athletic linebacker duos in the country. I would say that LSU’s best bet for consistent offense would be to try and conjure up some leftover magic from the Florida game and get Ty Davis-Price to run through some faces.

LSU’s young receivers will have the pleasure of going against what is probably the weakest link on the defense, but like the running game on offense, it’s still not that bad. Alabama’s secondary is more experienced than LSU’s wideouts, but have been shown to be liable at times. 

 Bottom Line on Alabama

Strengths: Coaching. Pass offense. Will Anderson Jr.

Weakness: I guess rushing offense and pass defense?

 

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