For much of this season the Alabama Crimson Tide haven’t exactly looked like the team we have come to expect over the past few seasons of dominance. Despite the undefeated record and the same lightning rod of a head coach in Nick Saban, this Bama team has established an identity as a high-flying offense with a lackluster defense, a direct contrast to their previous form of dominant defense and power run on offense. Let’s just say at least part of that equation changed on Saturday night against the LSU Tigers.
After LSU really dominated the action in the opening quarter the Crimson Tide just seemed to flip a switch and make the game theirs. Although the level scoreboard lasted until the third quarter, a successful fake punt by Alabama really shifted the tide (pun definitely intended) in their favor. A dominating run game powered by T.J. Yeldon’s 25 carries for 133 yards and two touchdowns fueled a complete takeover of the contest from that point on as Bama scored the final 21 points of the game.
Coming into the contest the team that had rushed for the most yards had won the previous five meetings between these two SEC heavyweights, and that amazing stat improved to the last six as Bama out-rushed LSU by a 202 to 62 margin. Even though Heisman hopeful quarterback A.J. McCarron was really an afterthought for the Crimson Tide on offense in the second half, his efficient 14-for-20 performance for 179 yards and three touchdowns did nothing to hurt his push for the most prestigious award in college football. Right now he has to be mentioned in the same breath as Florida State Seminoles signal caller Jameis Winston when it comes to holding up that hardware next month.
LSU may not get much ink after a game where they faded into the SEC background, but quarterback Zach Mettenberger along with dynamic receivers Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry continued to prove their worth to the scouts at the NFL level. Beckham is a budding star while Landry is simply a consistent threat to get open each and every snap. There’s no doubt that this trio will get some serious consideration in the first round this May when the 2014 NFL Draft rolls around.
But the main takeaway from this one as far as the collegiate landscape is concerned is that Alabama is back (as if they ever went away). This team has all of the traits of their national championship predecessors and then some with the running game finally coming back to the forefront on Saturday night. Look for the Crimson Tide to continue to roll on through the remainder of their schedule in pursuit of their third straight crystal ball on January 6 in the Rose Bowl.