A few months ago, Ed Orgeron stood in front of the media in Birmingham at SEC Media Days and made a simple statement.
The statement itself wasn’t shocking. The fact that it came from Orgeron, LSU’s head football coach, was.
“We are going to run the spread this year,” he said.
Boy, are they ever.
LSU is right behind Alabama in scoring offense in the SEC (46.8 points per game) and No. 4 nationally. Alabama is No. 2 (48.6). The Tigers have the No. 1 passing offense in the SEC (377.6 per game) and No. 2 nationally.
“Their offense is very different,” Alabama receiver Jerry Jeudy said. “They are very explosive, they have a great quarterback. They just have a great offense overall.”
Five of the top 10 SEC receivers will be at Bryant-Denny Stadium on Saturday when No. 1 LSU clashes with No. 2 Alabama.
Alabama and LSU are tops in the SEC in just about every offensive category thanks to great quarterback play from LSU’s Joe Burrow and Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa. But there is an abundance of talented players from both teams catching those passes.
Justin Jefferson (819 yards, 9 touchdowns) leads the SEC and behind him is Ja’Marr Chase (749, 9).
“They are a great group of receivers,” Alabama defensive back Trevon Diggs said. “They have good hands, run good routes – it’s going to be a good test. I’m real excited to go out and execute and play good football.”
LSU’s offense for Saturday’s meeting is quite the contrast from what the Crimson Tide defense saw from LSU in Baton Rouge last season in their 29-0 win. LSU was not even close to the offensive stalwart it is this season. Jefferson had 875 total yards through 13 games in 2018. He’s just 65 yards yards from eclipsing that mark with four more games left in the regular season.
Alabama has a little more experience running an up-tempo, pass-heavy offense with Tagovailoa at quarterback the last two seasons. After having surgery last week on his ankle, Tagovailoa is a “game-time decision.” Still, the Crimson Tide receivers are revved up and ready for the big stage Saturday night. They aren’t worried about the No. 1 team coming to town as much as they are about the No. 2 team.
“We are just going to keep doing what we’re doing all year,” Jeudy said. “They are having a great season, but we are not really focused on what they are doing. We are focused on ourselves.”
Jeudy, the 2018 Biletnikoff Award winner for the nation’s best receiver, is second leading receiver for the Crimson Tide with 682 yards and eight touchdowns and he’s got three 100-plus yard games. Jefferson has four 100-plus yard games as the Tigers’ leading receiver.
“They spread you out and create matchup problems with the great skill guys that they have with their wide receiver corps,” Alabama coach Nick Saban said. “This is obviously the most talented group of receivers we’ve played against all season.”
Reach Edwin Stanton at email@example.com, 205-722-0226 or via Twitter, @edwinstantonu2
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