Although Alabama’s chances of beating LSU would be lower if star quarterback Tua Tagovailoa didn’t play due to injury, that doesn’t mean that’s what the Tigers are hoping for.

In fact, one LSU defender is hoping for the opposite.

Tigers safety JaCoby Stevens stated this week that he hopes Tagovailoa is leading the Crimson Tide’s offense when the two teams face off in a huge matchup on Nov. 9.

“I feel like any competitor would,” Stevens said, per’s Michael Casagrande. “I’m pretty sure the guys at Alabama want to beat us at our best. They don’t want us to be limping in. They want us to be strong and they want us to be at our fullest at 100 percent if they do beat us. That’s the same here. We want to beat them when they’re at their best, too. That’s a competitive mindset.”

In order for Alabama to be at its best, Tagovailoa has to be at quarterback. He missed the Crimson Tide’s last game — a 48-7 win over Arkansas — after sustaining an ankle injury in the previous contest against Tennessee. Tagovailoa then underwent surgery, just like he did on his other ankle last year.

Without Tagovailoa, Mac Jones would be Alabama’s starting quarterback, just as he was in the Tide’s win over the Razorbacks.

Either way, LSU’s defense should be up for the challenge. The Tigers have been impressive during their 8-0 start, and they should have a competitive matchup coming up against the Crimson Tide.

When both teams return from its bye on Nov. 9, No. 1 LSU and No. 2 Alabama will kick off at 3:30 p.m. ET on CBS.