TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Nick Saban said Alabama wanted to make a statement against LSU, and it was the Crimson Tide’s defense that made the biggest one.

All year the talk has been about Alabama’s high-powered offense, but it was the defense that delivered body blow after body blow to the Tigers.

“We try to put everybody on notice and we have something to prove when we go out there,” Alabama safety Xavier McKinney said.

Alabama went on the road against the College Football Committee’s No. 3-ranked team and held them scoreless. LSU had no answers for Alabama’s swarming defense.

“I think it says we’re focused and that we don’t get complacent with where we are in the season,” McKinney said of the shutout, the Tide’s second consecutive at Tiger Stadium. “I think it says a lot, but of course we’ve still got a lot to do, a lot of work to do. We’re trying to improve, get better as a defense. I think we’ll keep doing that and we’ll get better from here.”

Alabama’s defense was dominant on the Bayou, limiting the Tigers to 196 total yards of offense, including just 12 yards on 25 total carries. The shutout was LSU’s fourth at home in the past 25 years – all four at the hands of an Alabama defense.

Plenty of people were ready to write off Alabama’s defense, but it’s still one of the top units in the country when needed. Problem is, Alabama’s offense has been so explosive that the defense hasn’t needed to be as dominant.

Saban has seen a lot of improvement from his young defense as they’ve gained more experience.

“The knowledge and experience they’ve gained throughout the year has really helped their confidence. And also playing together, communicating better, understanding the importance of those types of things and being a consistent unit where everybody’s sort of doing their job, and that’s going to give us the best opportunity to be successful,” Saban said. “I think we’ve grown in some of those areas and we need to continue to improve in all parts of our team. We’re going to see a different kind of attack this week, so we’re going to have to adjust and adapt to that as well.”

Alabama defensive lineman Quinnen Williams is anchoring the unit from the nose guard position. Williams was named SEC Defensive Player of the Week on Monday after posting a career night in Baton Rouge, leading Alabama with a career-high 10 tackles, including a career-best 3.5 tackles for loss. He added a career-high tying 2.5 sacks for a defense that leads the SEC with 31.

Alabama again will need the run-stuffer Saturday against Mississippi State. The Bulldogs rank second in the SEC (and slightly ahead of Alabama) in rushing yards per game (230.8). They ran for 349 yards against Auburn.

“Well, I think Q is a great example of a guy that really has really good work ethic, really wants to be a good player,” Saban said. “He’s bright. He’s worked really hard to get bigger and stronger. He’s got really good quickness. His athleticism is good.

“But (he) probably plays with as much intelligence as anyone that we have on our defensive team in terms of understanding how people are trying to block him and what their pass protection and bird and rabbits and creating every advantage for himself.”