3 biggest keys to the Alabama-LSU matchup
Saturday night will give us one of the biggest games of the season when No. 2 LSU travels to Tuscaloosa to take on the No. 4 Crimson Tide.
The Tigers are ranked higher, but the betting odds are in Alabama’s favor. And we all know that in games like this, it often comes down to which team can put aside the emotions of the rivalry and play its best football.
Here are the biggest questions going into this Week 10 matchup:
1. Can Alabama stop Leonard Fournette? Can anyone stop LSU RB Leonard Fournette? Fournette is averaging 25 carries and just less than 200 yards per game. But if any team can stop him, it’s the No. 3 rushing defense of the Crimson Tide.
Alabama allows less than 79 rushing yards per game. If it can stand strong against LSU, this defense may just be able to stop Fournette. Otherwise, Fournette may create a deficit too large to overcome.
2. Can LSU finish the game? Alabama has won four-straight regular season matchups against LSU, including a BCS Championship game. The two games in Baton Rouge were won in the final minutes. The game in 2013 and the national championship game in 2012 were won by huge deficits.
This Saturday, the Tigers return to Bryant-Denny with just three players on the roster who have ever beaten Alabama — LB Grant Leger, DT Quentin Thomas and DT Mickey Johnson. If LSU wants this to be the year the streak is broken, it will have to take the lead, keep the lead and finish the game.
3. Can Alabama win the turnover battle? LSU has zero interceptions on the year and just two fumbles lost. Alabama has thrown 9 INTs and lost five fumbles.
On the other hand Alabama’s defense has racked up 12 INTs — four of which were returned for touchdowns — and has recovered five fumbles, while LSU has recorded only seven INTs, one pick six and two fumble recoveries.
This will be the toughest defense the Tigers have faced all season. And if Alabama’s defense shows up in full force, it may be too much for QB Brandon Harris and LSU to handle.
The answers to these three questions will likely prove to be the keys to winning this game.
Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
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