It was Statement Saturday this past weekend in college football, and Alabama sure made a statement. In perhaps the biggest game of the college football season so far, No. 1 Alabama dominated No. 3 LSU in a 29-0 victory in Death Valley.
With the win, Alabama clinched the SEC West championship, booking their ticket to the SEC championship game against Georgia on Saturday, December 1st. Here are five things we learned about Alabama following their dominant victory.
The crowd wasn’t a factor
Despite Alabama’s dominance throughout the season, many wondered if the atmosphere of Death Valley would impact Alabama’s performance. To start the game, this was certainly the case. The 102,321 LSU faithful were electric after keeping Alabama off the board on their first drive of the game for the first time this season.
However, for the rest of the game, Alabama’s dominance kept the crowd relatively quiet. After Damien Harris’ 1-yard touchdown run gave Alabama the 29-0 lead in the fourth quarter, many fans seemed to have left, seemingly knowing that the outcome had all but been decided.
Sophomore phenom and Heisman frontrunner Tua Tagovailoa had a solid all around performance for the Crimson Tide. The LSU pass rush did all they could to stop him, leading him to throw his first interception of the season in the first half. Still, despite their best efforts, Tua eventually proved to be too much for the LSU defense.
Tagovailoa finished the night going 25-42 for 295 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. He also added a 44-yard touchdown run on the ground. While his numbers may not be as spectacular as previous outings, when Alabama needed him most, he delivered. And yes, he played in the 4th quarter for the first time this season.
Alabama needs to work on special teams
Special teams were seemingly the only thing Alabama struggled with throughout the course of the game. Alabama missed two extra points, one of them being fumbled and missed, and the second blocked. They also nearly gave up a touchdown on a 57-yard kickoff return from the Tigers following Tua’s 44-yard rushing touchdown.
While this may not be as important now, Alabama will certainly need to work on this going forward. Towards the end of the season when games begin to be more closely contested (or so we hope), Alabama certainly won’t want special teams to be what potentially costs them a spot in the College Football Playoff.
Bama’s defense was incredible
The fact that Alabama’s defense shutout LSU is already telling, but even that doesn’t do justice to how dominant Bama’s defense really was.
The Crimson Tide defense forced the Tigers to punt on their first nine consecutive possessions. On LSU’s 10th possession, a 33-yard missed field goal by usually reliable kicker Cole Tracy kept Alabama’s shutout hopes alive. On LSU’s 11th and final drive of the game, it looked as if Alabama’s shutout was in jeopardy as the Tigers drove down to the Crimson Tide 12 yard line. However, LSU’s hopes of getting on the board were short lived, as Mack Wilson’s acrobatic interception not only sealed the deal for Alabama, but capped off a remarkable defensive performance for the Crimson Tide.
Alabama dominated the run game
To say that Alabama dominated the run game would be an understatement. The Crimson Tide ran the ball with ease, averaging 7.6 yards per carry with 281 rushing yards on 37 attempts. Senior Damien Harris lead the Crimson Tide with 107 yards on 19 carries and one touchdown.
What’s even more impressive is how Alabama defend the run. The Crimson Tide defense shut down the run all night, allowing just 12 rushing yards on 25 attempts. While Tagovailoa was solid passing the ball, the real storyline of this game was how the Crimson Tide dominated the running game on both sides of the football.
So what’s next?
This spot further solidifies Alabama as the undisputed best team in college football, and will certainly see them retain their No. 1 ranking. After this huge victory, the Crimson Tide are 9-0 and will have great momentum as they host No. 18 Mississippi State next Saturday.
For LSU, this loss puts them at 7-2 and will certainly see them fall in the rankings, likely out of the top four. With the No. 4-8 teams all winning their respective matchups, it will interesting to see where the committee places LSU following this tough loss.