Even without its best player, the LSU defense caused more problems for Alabama than any other team had so far this season.

But when LB Devin White returned from his first-half targeting suspension, the loud crowd at Tiger Stadium gave its approval.

Leading up to the game, Alabama coach Nick Saban said White was as good a linebacker as there is, and his performance to date backs that up.

White is third in the SEC with 76 tackles, including seven for loss, a sack and a forced fumble. He also has six quarterback hurries and two fumble recoveries.

His first half absence was related to a controversial hit two weeks ago in the fourth quarter on Mississippi State QB Nick Fitzgerald where he was flagged for targeting. Several college football experts questioned the call and LSU protested the partial-game suspension but the ruling wasn’t overturned.

While they trailed 16-0, it was the Tigers’ offense that struggled to find a rhythm. White could add a presence to the defense, but the more pressing issue for LSU is improving its negative five yards rushing output from the first half.