Published November 4, 2010 - 5:30am
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This weekend #10 LSU hosts #6 Alabama under the lights in Death Valley. The LSU Tigers have looked good in some wins and bad in others, but they seem to match up with the Crimson Tide particularly well, in the midst of all of the buzz about the Iron Bowl in a few weeks. Alabama has to get through LSU first, and they will have to do it in the toughest place to play in the conference – possibly the country.
Both defenses are good, and both rely on their running game to eat up yardage and keep the football in their possession. Alabama has more of the star players and the names you know, but LSU has a lot of talent – they just have trouble getting them the football because of their weak quarterback play.
For Alabama To Be Effective
Alabama has experience, they have a week of rest and they have Mark Ingram and Trent Richardson to pound the rock. LSU is pretty stout against the run – minus Auburn – and the Tide could have a tough time running on the Tigers. Quarterback Greg McElroy will have to be on his game if LSU plays a run-heavy defense. If LSU can slow down the running game, Alabama will have to step up their passing game. McElroy has taken some heat this year but manages the offense effectively. He’s not a dominant player, but he has experience and is a winner. He will have to get the football to Julio Jones, Marquis Maze and Darius Hanks in the passing game to loosen up the Tiger defense. Richardson and Ingram are used very effective in screen situations as well, as both backs can catch the football out of the backfield. Alabama will have to establish the run because we all remember what happened when they could not get it going against South Carolina. Their defense will be solid and should keep LSU’s scoring down.
For LSU To Be Effective
LSU has a ton of playmakers on their football team. They do, however, have trouble getting them the football. Receivers Terrence Tolliver, Russell Sheppard and Rueben Randle are talented, but they can only be effective if they get the ball. Running backs Stevan Ridley and Michael Ford are pounders, not really game breakers, but they are effective running the football. Quarterback play has been a struggle all year for the Tigers. Quarterbacks Jordan Jefferson and Jarrett Lee have been mildly effective at times and terrible at others. Jefferson will be used as the running quarterback and Lee the passing quarterback – just like they have shown all year. If you are Les Miles, you cannot afford to let these quarterbacks beat you, but you have to have confidence in them at the same time. The LSU defense has to be a focal point for this one. If LSU can slow down Alabama’s run game, Patrick Peterson will be matched up against Julio Jones in the secondary. What more could you ask for to get Alabama in passing situations?
LSU matches up with Alabama on paper, but we all know the game is played on the field. Everyone is slightly overlooking this game and seemingly counting this as a win for the Tide. I think this will be a low-scoring, run-heavy football game. I think LSU will keep it close, but if they do not find a way to get their wide receivers / playmakers the football, they will be in trouble. Anytime there is a low-scoring game, either team can make a big play that can carry them the entire game.
Who do you think has the edge?