Four downs: Scott Rabalais breaks down the LSU-Alabama game
1 Don’t make it Hurt(s)
Coach O’s mom, Coco Orgeron, knows football. And she knows LSU’s No. 1 job is to stop Jalen Hurts. Alabama’s quarterback isn’t the second coming of Cam Newton. He ranks behind LSU’s Danny Etling and his own backup, Tua Tagovailoa, in SEC passing efficiency. But Hurts beat LSU with his feet last year, scrambling 21 yards for the game’s only touchdown while rushing for 114 yards total. LSU can’t allow that and have any hope of victory.
2 Throw the book at ’em
Matt Canada, you had me at the Clemson game. When I saw his unconventional Pittsburgh offense confound the eventual national champions last season, I thought he could be LSU’s next offensive coordinator if Lane Kiffin didn’t come. Shovel passes, jet sweeps, wheel routes to the fullback, motion galore. The only way to beat Bama’s defense is to trick it. Hopefully for LSU’s sake, Canada has some tricks in his playbook specifically for the Crimson Tide.
3 Cut out the middle men
Bama’s run-pass ratio last season: 60-40. This year under Brian Daboll: 66-34. And Bama is often running straight at people with Damien Harris, Bo Scarbrough, Najee Harris and the aforementioned Mr. Hurts. Still works, though. Bama leads the SEC in scoring, total and rushing offense. LSU has had trouble stopping the power run and ranks seventh in the SEC allowing 145.8 ypg. Not hard to guess what the Tigers will get a steady diet of Saturday.
4 Better to be lucky …
Talent-wise, LSU still outpaces most programs. Not Alabama, though, whose recruiting class rank the last five years is 1. So to win, LSU needs some luck. A swarm of Alabama turnovers. A friendly bounce. A referee’s call or two to go its way (sorry, had to pause and stifle a laugh there). Good fortune and a bold attitude could carry the Tigers to an upset. Frankly, it’s the only way to go.