TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Alabama-LSU is set up again as a showdown with major SEC West and national championship implications.
No. 1 Alabama (8-0, 5-0 SEC) travels to Baton Rouge, La., on Saturday for an SEC West clash against No. 13 LSU (5-2, 3-1). Kickoff is scheduled for 8 p.m. ET on CBS.
Here’s a look back at three keys from Alabama’s win last season, and how they apply to Saturday’s game.
3. Limiting the passing game
Along with limiting LSU’s rushing attack, Alabama didn’t allow anything through the air.
The Crimson Tide held then-LSU starting quarterback Brandon Harris to 128 yards on 6-of-19 passes. Harris threw a touchdown pass but also had an interception.
Harris has been benched in favor of Danny Etling. Etling has thrown for 1,129 yards and 7 touchdowns to just 3 interceptions.
Etling has thrown for more than 220 yards in a game just once this season, and that was against Southern Miss (276).
If Etling and LSU’s receivers can’t push the ball down the field, it could be a long night for the Tigers offense.
2. Controlling the clock
Alabama owned the clock in the game last year. The Crimson Tide controlled the ball for 39:27 of the 60 minutes in the game.
What’s more, Alabama ripped off a 13-play, 78-yard drive that last the game’s final 9:18.
LSU had just scored to cut it to 30-16, but the Crimson Tide iced the game with the long possession.
1. Containing Fournette
Alabama was one of two teams to hold Leonard Fournette to less than 100 yards last season. He ran for 31 yards and a touchdown for an average of 1.6 yards per carry (19 carries).
One of Fournette’s runs went for 18 yards. That means his other 18 carries totaled just 13 yards.
Fournette once again is the featured player in LSU’s offense. He ran for 284 yards (17.8 yards per carry) and 3 touchdowns in LSU’s 38-21 win.
Fournette has rushed for 670 yards and 5 touchdowns this season despite missing two games and losing another because of Hurricane Matthew.
Stopping Fournette is priority No. 1 for Alabama.