Top-ranked Alabama has had a week off to get ready for Saturday’s showdown with LSU, and there are key questions to be answered. Here are four of them:
1. Can Alabama contain Derrius Guice?
LSU’s running back ranks second in the SEC at 101.6 yards per game, and averages 5.7 yards per carry. The Crimson Tide ranks No. 1 in the nation in rushing defense, allowing 66.4 yards per game. Leonard Fournette averaged less than 50 yards per game against UA over the previous three years, and the Tigers will likely need more out of Guice to pull off this upset.
2. Will Jalen Hurts perform his magic?
A year ago, as a freshman, Alabama’s quarterback scored the game’s only touchdown on a splendid scramble. He put up 221 combined rushing and passing yards and was the leading rusher in a 216-yard UA ground attack. LSU will want to load the box and make him pass, so Hurts will have to make some throws to give Alabama its best chance.
3. Will Alabama be able to run the ball?
The Crimson Tide leads the SEC in rushing at nearly 300 yards per game, but sledding has been tough on the ground against LSU in recent years. UA has managed 4.5 yards or less per carry and averaged around 190 rushing yards per game against LSU the last three years. If LSU can keep the UA ground game in check, things will get interesting.
4. Which team will win the turnover battle?
Alabama has turned the ball over 15 times with five takeaways for a plus-10 margin. LSU is plus-three, with nine takeaways and six turnovers. This is the kind of contest where a key turnover can make a big difference, so protecting the ball will be at a premium. Neither team can afford to cough up the ball via interception or fumble, especially multiple times.