Call it too much hype or too much anxiety. Either way, after being schooled by Nick Saban and Alabama’s defense in a 30-16 loss, LSU RB Leonard Fournette found out the hard way on Saturday that he still has a lot to learn about playing his position.

Rushing for only 31 yards on 19 carries, the Crimson Tide stuffed the leading Heisman Trophy candidate and reopened the competition, perhaps to one of their own. Alabama RB Derrick Henry showed how it’s done, rambling for 210 yards and three touchdowns on 38 carries. Emphasis on carry – as in carried his team to victory while hoisting him into the position of Heisman frontrunner.

Sure Henry’s offensive line afforded him far better opportunities to excel than the LSU line for Fournette. Henry was offered running lanes to blow through, but not on every carry. Plus, Henry didn’t have the weight of the Heisman Trophy on his shoulders and played within his game. He wasn’t trying to do anything special, nothing out of the ordinary, just run like he’d run 300-plus times before at Alabama. He knew he didn’t have to win the game himself.

Fournette discovered just how heavy the weight of the Heisman hype can be, not only on his shoulders but on his mind as well. He tried to take every carry to the house. He tried to live up to the hype. He tried too hard.

The strength and power to plow into the teeth of the Alabama defense for 2-, 3- and 4-yard gains at a pop were discarded before the opening kickoff. So was the patience to bide his time – and perhaps begin to wear down the defense – and then later take advantage of any crack in the armor, utilizing the speed and agility that has brought many a Tiger Stadium crowds to its feet.

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The characteristics that burn within the bellies of great NFL running backs also burn within Fournette. But we didn’t see that Saturday.

We tend to forget that he is just 20 years old, barely out of his teens, and still learning the game. It’s easy to forget that when the 6-foot-1, 230-pounder glides through defenses with a grace and ease not often witnessed.

The pressure, combined with the best defense he’ll face in college football, got the best of him on Saturday. So intent was Fournette to dash 80 yards every time he touched the ball that he forgot to take the 3-yard gains. So focused on the weight of carrying a team and a trophy on his back, he forgot to use his vision to slice through what few – not to mention narrow – lanes were available.

LSU’s highly-touted offensive line was manhandled; there’s no questioning that. They certainly didn’t clear out the kind of real estate Fournette has grown accustomed to. But nobody expected the Tigers’ talented line to maintain Fournette’s per rush average of 4.5 yards before contact. Everyone knew they’d be hard-pressed to add much to Fournette’s 792 total yards rushing this season before ever being touched.

That was a given. However, the line did provide Fournette some opportunities for positive yards that weren’t taken advantage of, certainly not in the first half.

To his (or someone’s) credit, he did settle down just a little in the second half. Fournette didn’t run quite so tippy-toed along the line of scrimmage, but instead hit the point of attack with a little more authority and was even able to bounce out for an 18-yard burst on his first carry of the fourth quarter.

But by then the die had been cast, and Fournette was well on the way to his worst game of the season. He hadn’t experienced such resistance since gaining 9 yards on five carries as a true freshman last season against Arkansas.

The Razorbacks are LSU’s opponent Saturday in Tiger Stadium. That’s a game that should give some indication of what he learned from the trouncing in Tuscaloosa.

Lessons learned? We’ll see.