It was, for the most part, pretty lackluster.
Alabama’s offense started three-and-out. Running back Damien Harris carried the ball for 5 yards. Quarterback Jalen Hurts was then sacked for a loss of 10 yards so that his 14-yard pass to wide receiver Robert Foster on third and 15 didn’t matter.
JK Scott came out to punt for 56 yards. LSU ball.
“Discipline to execute is probably the most important thing,” Alabama coach Nick Saban said. “I don’t care how big the game is, how much emotion you have. You have to channel it in the right direction.”
The Crimson Tide had six drives that were three-and-out during its 24-10 victory over the Tigers. They didn’t all feature the same events, but the end result was the same. No first downs. Bring out Scott.
It was the most times this season Alabama has gone three-and-out. Its second-place mark would be the four instances against Florida State in the season opener.
“It just feels good to beat (the Tigers),” UA wide receiver Calvin Ridley said, “because you know going into the game that we’re going to have to play great to win this game.”
But did Alabama play great?
“We played good, I would say,” Ridley said. “Definitely could play better.”
There were highlights here and there — Hurts’ 47-yard dime to wide receiver Henry Ruggs III, or the two rushing touchdowns from three and 10 yards out — but otherwise, it was the Crimson Tide’s second-lowest production this season. Alabama finished with 299 total offensive yards.
That final number broke down into a season-low 116 rushing and 183 passing yards. Hurts completed 11 of his 24 passes and threw a four-yard touchdown. He also led the ground attack with 44 yards on 14 carries and a score.
“I know we had some drops, some self-inflicted wounds,” Hurts said. “But we won the game, so I can smile about that.”
Alabama did score in every quarter to keep its streak going. That’s now 10 games UA has posted points on the board in all four quarters. The streak includes last season’s national championship.
Still, Saturday’s verdict remains.
“I told the players before the game that we haven’t been tested with heart,” Saban said. “Heart kind of defines you in terms of who you are.
“We didn’t play a great game out there. We had a lot of self-inflicted wounds, but you can’t argue with the fight that the players fought with.”