Entering the open date, LSU quarterbacks (minus a trick play) had thrown for a total of 192 passing yards with no touchdowns in their previous two contests.
LSU coach Les Miles played his best role as doctor in honor of Halloween to fine-tune a desperately ailing passing game.
"Our passing game looks like we're throwing the football better in practice on a regular basis. ... I'm pretty confident we'll be able to throw it and catch it, and I've felt that way before, and I suspect it will come to fruition Saturday," Miles said Wednesday.
When Ausberry saw the Tigers were open on Oct. 30, he decided to make sure his team had the break it would need at this point in the season.
"It’s not because it’s Alabama, it’s just the way the schedule flowed," Ausberry said. "It’s eight tough weeks in a row. … It worked out perfectly for us."
In LSU’s case, any advantage is negated by the fact that Alabama had its only open date last week as well.
Saban believes Alabama controls its own destiny to an extent.
"I think there are a lot other people in the same boat so it's who can take care of their business the best down the road by what you control. What we control is how we play so I think that's the most important thing that we want to be able to focus on and that's why we need everybody's best right now at this time of the year. I think the teams we play in the SEC have won 23 out of 25 games, the teams we have left on this side of it (the schedule) so we're going to play some of the best teams and we need to be playing our best football of the year if we're going to be able to accomplish what we have an opportunity to accomplish."
As odd as it sounds, the winner Saturday in Baton Rouge isn’t necessarily guaranteed anything.
The loser, however, is guaranteed of being on the outside looking in when the top prizes are doled out later this college football season.
"It’s pretty much like it always is with this game," LSU cornerback Patrick Peterson said. "Whoever wins has a chance to go on and do big things. If you lose, you sort of just have to take whatever comes your way."
1. Alabama: The Crimson Tide already had one killer three-game stretch they couldn’t make it through earlier this season, losing at South Carolina in the third game. They’re still in the BCS national championship hunt, though, and will have earned it if they can navigate their way up the BCS standings into one of those top two spots. Three games remain against Top 20 teams -- at No. 10 LSU this Saturday, home against No. 20 Mississippi State on Nov. 13 and home against No. 2 Auburn on Nov. 26. There’s also the Georgia State game, which will be played on a Thursday night (Nov. 18).
"I know he’s going to be amped up coming in here," Peterson said. "I’m going to be amped up for round three -- Julio versus Peterson. I’ll be all right. I’ve played Julio three years straight. He probably knows how I play. I know how he plays. So it’s going to be another battle."
Said Jones: "If it’s round three, it’s round three. It’s just another opportunity for me to go out there and get better. I like a challenge. I’m not going to veer away from a challenge. He’s a great competitor and I am, too. It’s going to be good."
"We know what type of defense LSU has," Ingram said. "The past two years that I've played them, they've been great athletes running to the ball. They're a big challenge to us. We just have to focus on our game plan. We really can't worry about what anybody else has done. We've got to focus on us."