BATON ROUGE, La. (WBRC) - If Auburn is Alabama’s classic rivalry, LSU is not far behind. And this week in Death Valley, The Tide and the LSU Tigers faced off once again for one of the SEC’s grittiest showdowns.
LSU came into the match up with a 3-4 record, with tough losses to Miss. St., Missouri, Texas A&M and a particularly brutal 48-11 loss to Auburn.
Alabama had come out on top in those same matchups and had managed to maintain an 8-0 record for the season; the only undefeated team left in the conference.
This Alabama team has managed to reach new heights thanks to an incredibly dynamic offense that manages to showcase athleticism at every angle.
Alabama scored on the opening drive. 7 plays spanning 75 yards. Mac Jones with the accuracy of a sharpshooter and a beautifully timed run, framed by blocks from the big guys to carry Najee Harris 14 yards into the endzone.
In true rivalry fashion, answering LSU possessions seemed relentless as the Tigers picked up one first down after another. A total of 5 first downs and a third down conversion brought LSU to 4th and inches at the Alabama endzone. But the Bama D held up and the Tigers came up short, a devastating end after 11 plays, 60 yards and more than 4 minutes off the clock.
Even that early in the game, getting shutdown against a team like Alabama can excrete an aura of doom that’s hard to ignore.
The Tide scored on all five of their first 5 possessions, crossing receivers all over the place. Like the interchanged route where John Metchie crossed over to the right and brought three of the LSU secondary with him, leaving Billingsley wide open to the left to cradle a 24-yard pass from Mac Jones for a touchdown.
The Tigers worked hard to stoke the flame, hammering through a 95-yard drive that was almost blown when Jontre Kirklin let go of the ball dangerously early, in anticipation of the touchdown as he approached the plane. But the call on the field stuck and the Tigers had some points on the board, down 21-7.
But it was the following LSU possession that proved to be the shining moment, an outstanding 54-yard run straight into the Tide endzone. John Emery made the carry and with a crucial LSU block that kept the Tide secondary just out of arm’s reach as he broke the plane.
The breakout moments were nice, but the true standard of a team set apart is consistency, and Alabama is capable of creating one outstanding moment after another.
The defining moment for the Tide offense came with Devonte Smith three deep under secondary coverage. Jones placed the ball nice and high in the back of the endzone, where the tips of even the NFL’s most talented receiver might just be able to make it. And in super human fashion Smith leans back, arm outstretched with his spine curving in a deep C and picks the ball from it’s path out of bounds. It’s another touchdown for the Tide.
Alabama plays like a well oiled machine.
Mac Jones does not flinch in the pocket. He’s previously stated that he “Likes to get hit” and maybe that lack of fear is what frees his concentration to find opportunities and place the ball in extremely tight places. Jones finished the night 20-28 with 385 yards and 4 touchdown passes.
Najee Harris knows how to pause just long enough to let the hole open where he needs it and gives Alabama reliable run game. He had 21 carries, 145 yards and 3 touchdowns Saturday night.
The unflinching cohesion of this team ultimately proves unyielding as LSU falls to a final score of 55-17.
It’s another rivalry matchup in the books and Alabama progress 9-0 for the season.