TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Leonard Fournette’s huge performance against Ole Miss last Saturday impressed a lot of people, including Alabama coach Nick Saban.
Fournette ran for 284 yards (17.8 yards per carry) and 3 touchdowns in LSU’s 38-21 win.
“I haven’t really seen a guy dominate a game like he did that game for a long time,” Saban said during the SEC coaches teleconference on Wednesday. “We have a tremendous amount of respect for him, and he looks as good as ever and maybe even better.”
Saban said Fournette has been a “fantastic player” at LSU.
Fournette has rushed for 670 yards and 5 touchdowns this season despite missing two games and losing another because of Hurricane Matthew.
Fournette has struggled in two career games against the Crimson Tide (21 carries, 79 yards and no touchdowns as a freshman in 2014).
Alabama was one of two teams to hold Fournette under 100 yards last season. He ran for 31 yards and a touchdown for an average of 1.6 yards per carry (19 carries).
Both teams are on a bye this week.
No. 1 Alabama (8-0, 5-0 SEC) travels to Baton Rouge, La., on Nov. 5 for an SEC West clash against No. 19 LSU (5-2, 3-1). Kickoff is scheduled for 8 p.m. ET on CBS.
Saban also offered some early thoughts on the matchup against LSU during the teleconference:
On LSU’s offense, particularly in recent weeks
“We have a lot of respect for LSU and the things that they do. They’re well-coached. They’ve been able to run the ball extremely effectively. They have a really good play-action pass game that goes with them and some really good skill guys that can make big plays, and the quarterback has done a nice job for them. This is a very challenging team based on the balance that they create and what they do, and they probably play a little more two tights and two wides, which is a good thing for them because it features the players that they have. We see some subtle differences in what they’re doing. I think the thing about it is, their execution has been really good. That’s usually what makes the difference.”
On LSU quarterback Danny Etling
“He’s done a great job. He’s done a really good job. He understands the offense, makes good, quick decisions and has been able to throw the ball accurately and take advantage of the explosive plays they can make with the skill guys that they have.”
On LSU’s defense under coordinator Dave Aranda
“They play a lot more 3-4-type stuff, which is what he did when he was at Wisconsin, which they’re continuing to do. They play some even with that as well. The combination of those two things give you two totally different kind of fronts to try to block. Their players are extremely well-coached, and they do a really good job on defense and really good secondary and really good front seven. So this is probably the best defense we’ve played against all year long, top to bottom, front to back.”