No. 1-ranked Alabama will visit No. 4 LSU in Death Valley on Saturday for a much-anticipated showdown. Here are four key questions that will be answered:
1. Can LSU’s defense contain Alabama?
The Crimson Tide has rolled up points to the tune of 54 per game, tops in the nation. The Tigers are allowing just 15.1 points on average, seventh-best in the country. Something has to give. This is the best defense Alabama has faced, and this game will tell us just how good this UA attack really is.
2. What impact will the crowd have?
Night games in Baton Rouge are rowdy enough as it is, but the LSU fan base is especially riled up over an alleged SEC conspiracy to help the Crimson Tide, manifested in this case by the targeting call that will keep All-American linebacker Devin White off the field for the first half. The home crowd will be fired up and loud, something Alabama will have to overcome.
3. Will Tua Tagovailoa finally take a fourth-quarter snap?
Alabama’s sophomore quarterback has been so effective and efficient that his services haven’t been needed past the end of the third period so far. Now, in the Crimson Tide’s ninth game of the 2018 season, UA may finally need him to finish a game. This could be the spot where he needs to make plays in the final period to keep Alabama unbeaten.
4. Does LSU have the firepower to keep up?
It stands to reason that Alabama may not be able to score its now-customary 50-plus points against a tough Tigers defense, much less reach the 40-point mark before halftime as it has so often. But can LSU score enough to make it matter. The Tigers average 30 points per game, nearly twice what Alabama yields.