Nick Saban vs the “Mad Hatter” Les Miles.
The annual primetime matchup of LSU Tigers and the Alabama Crimson Tide went down in Tuscaloosa, with the Tigers looking for the No. 1 upset. Unfortunately for the Tigers, they were on the wrong side of things and were unable to stem the bleeding of a strong second half as the Crimson Tide pulled away.
The LSU Tigers’ 33rd ranked rushing attack was held to only 43 yards on the night against Bama’s stout defensive front seven, and kept quarterback Zach Mettenberger under wraps all night long, holding the improved passer to 241 passing yards and a solitary touchdown pass. Leading rusher Jeremy Hill had a mere 42 yards on 13 carries and a lone rushing touchdown. LSU’s offense was held to 284 total yards on the night. Despite LSU’s strong receiving corps, LSU’s offensive line was unable to give Mettenberger as much time in the pocket, particularly in the second half, and Mettenberger often failed to make the throws he needed to. Perhaps the most telling story was the fact that LSU only averaged 1.1 yards per rush, but it’s a little harder to explain just how the Tigers averaged 10.5 yards per catch, yet had only one touchdown pass to show for it.
On defense, the Tigers had no answer for Alabama on the ground, allowing 193 yards on the ground, which effectively kept the ball out of LSU’s hands and limited their time on the field, with Alabama holding the ball for a total of 33:51 minutes compared to LSU’s 26:09 minutes. While Crimson Tide quarterback AJ McCarron didn’t have the best number in terms of passing yards, throwing for only 179 yards, he did toss three essential touchdown passes. That was perhaps the biggest difference, as LSU was unable to stem the bleeding from McCarron’s ability to reach the endzone and got beat physically in the trenches on both sides of the ball, especially in the second half.
With the win, not only does LSU lose any hope of climbing in the SEC West Division, but Alabama remains on track to keep its hold on the BCS National Championship race, and Auburn continues to control its own destiny.