This weekend’s game between Alabama and LSU in Death Valley will mark the 83rd time the two SEC powerhouses have met. But that dates way back.
Since he took over the UA program in 2007, Nick Saban is 9-3 against LSU. Tigers coach Ed Orgeron has only gone against the Crimson Tide twice in purple and gold as head coach, losing both instances.
“Our record or any other statistic that you guys want to sort of bring up about this game and all that will not affect the outcome of this game at all,” Saban said Monday.
Maybe, maybe not. Anyway, there’s more to it than some old numbers.
“They’re a completely different team now,” Saban said. “I don’t think this team is like any LSU team we’ve seen in recent years in terms of what they’re doing on offense. They’re going fastball. They’re playing tempo. There are a lot more open formations than what they have been in the past.”
The Tigers are averaging 383.6 yards per game in total offense, breaking down to 190.6 yards on the ground and 193 yards through the air. They also average 30.4 points per game.
LSU quarterback Joe Burrow is a big part of that. He has completed 53.8 percent of his passes for 1,544 yards and six touchdowns. His most-used target is wide receiver Justin Jefferson, who has caught 40 passes for 471 yards and two touchdowns to lead the team.
“It’s not an I (formation), line it up and run it down your throat,” UA defensive back Deionte Thompson said. “These guys get in four open, empty and distribute the ball everywhere.”
The Tigers have running backs Nick Brossette and Clyde Edwards-Helaire, who are fully capable. Both have surpassed 500 rushing yards this season (697 and 521, respectively) and combined for 15 touchdowns.
LSU is 7-1 and ranked fourth in the AP Top 25 poll.
“They also play with great intangibles when it comes to toughness and trying to finish plays and the effort they’re playing with,” Saban said. “The competitive spirit they’re playing with is really, really exceptional. And that’s why I think they’re having success.”
Reach Terrin Waack at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 205-722-0229.