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Initial Impressions from the 2013 LSU vs Alabama Game

“It’s a good feeling when you can see it in their eyes that it’s over”- C.J. Mosley after last night's win

Kevin C. Cox

Excuse me while I gump for a second but that had to be the most satisfying victory since Alabama defeated LSU in the 2011 BCS national title game. As great as 2012 LSU-Bama was and the excitement of AJ to TJ, we all knew that Alabama was outplayed for most of the game and was lucky to get out of Death Valley with the win.

The '12 BCS title game brought a level of satisfaction (redemption against Notre Dame, two in a row, etc.) but in the end, it proved what we already knew— that Notre Dame didn't belong and 'Bama truly was king.

Even '13 Texas A&M left us all feeling unsatisfied. Previously, Alabama had never (as in, ever) given up that many yards against a single foe and I can't remember the last time 'Bama gave up 42 points.

Last night however, against a team in LSU that is nearly our mirror image, this Alabama football team put together it's best performance of the season.

The first half, especially the first quarter, was just ugly, there really is no fancy way of saying it. Our pre-game nightmares were coming true, as the LSU wide receivers were abusing our corners at the line of scrimmage and Jeremy Hill and company were averaging 3-4 yards per carry.

The Alabama defense had no answer for LSU and if not for two Tiger fumbles, Alabama likely finds itself down 14-0. The 'Bama offense slow start is par for course but the 'Bama defense has been a brick wall since the A&M game and watching them get pushed around, especially the defensive line, had me wishing I drank the hard stuff.

I will say this, Saban's half-time speech must have been the ass chewing of a lifetime because whatever he said was effective as a completely different Alabama team came out in the 2nd half.

LSU drives in the 1st half..

12:07 1 03:56 LSU 14 9 85 Fumble
06:06 1 01:10 LSU 38 2 -11 Fumble
03:54 1 03:58 LSU 43 8 57 Rushing Touchdown
12:35 2 02:00 LSU 25 4 25 Punt
05:17 2 04:34 LSU 25 10 75 Passing Touchdown

LSU scored all of 3 points in the 2nd half, and thanks to ALL THE SACKS, rushed for - 16 yards.

15:00 3 02:59 LSU 26 6 50 Field Goal Good
04:11 3 03:56 LSU 25 7 26 Punt
10:31 4 01:21 LSU 18 4 -3 Turnover on Downs
04:10 4 02:15 LSU 30 5 -6 Turnover on Downs

Probably the best defensive stop of the night was the third drive of the 2nd half where after a long kick-off return by Beckham, the defense held LSU to -3 yards and a turnover on downs.

The story of the 2nd half, at least for me, was not the Bama defense but the Alabama offensive line physically dominating the LSU front seven. The first drive of the 2nd half for Bama had to be particularly demoralizing for the LSU defense...

1st and 10 at ALA 21 T.J. Yeldon rush for 7 yards to the Alab 28. 17 17
2nd and 3 at ALA 28 T.J. Yeldon rush for 5 yards to the Alab 33 for a 1ST down.
1st and 10 at ALA 33 AJ McCarron rush for 2 yards to the Alab 35.
2nd and 8 at ALA 35 T.J. Yeldon rush for 7 yards to the Alab 42.
3rd and 1 at ALA 42 T.J. Yeldon rush for a loss of 1 yard to the Alab 41.
4th and 2 at ALA 41 Timeout ALABAMA, clock 8:52.
4th and 2 at ALA 41 Jarrick Williams rush for 6 yards to the Alab 47 for a 1ST down.
1st and 10 at ALA 47 T.J. Yeldon rush for 4 yards to the LSU 49.
2nd and 6 at LSU 49 T.J. Yeldon rush for 2 yards to the LSU 47.
3rd and 4 at LSU 47 AJ McCarron pass complete to Amari Cooper for 13 yards to the LSU 34 for a 1ST down.
1st and 10 at LSU 34 AJ McCarron pass incomplete to DeAndrew White.
2nd and 10 at LSU 34 T.J. Yeldon rush for 22 yards to the LSU 12 for a 1ST down.
1st and 10 at LSU 12 Kenyan Drake rush for 7 yards to the LSU 5.
2nd and 3 at LSU 5 Kenyan Drake rush for 1 yard to the LSU 4.

Bama ended that drive with a Yeldon TD.

14 plays on 70 yards and fake punt. Glorious.

Alabama's offense had two final drives of 8 and 10 plays that killed 9 minutes of game clock. They were efficient, balanced and most importantly, powerful. This was the Alabama offense of old that ran the ball into nine man fronts with no fear.

After the Alabama offense returned to its true nature, the Bama defense then went into kill mode on LSU's final drive, sacking Mettenburger on on three straight plays.

Moving forward you still have to be concerned with the Bama secondary, at least the corners and now, the kick-off return and punt return coverage. These aren't glaring weaknesses mind you and obviously Alabama's front seven, which is probably the best of the Saban era, can put enough pressure on the quarterback to mitigate issues at corner.

And make no mistake, LSU has a fantastic, NFLesque, offense and our adjustments in the 2nd half should give us all confidence that Alabama can play and stop any type of offense we may face (Mizzou, FSU).

So given how the game started and how the team responded at half time, I would say that was the most satisfying victory since 2011. The team isn't invincible and corner is now a very real concern but we'll leave that hand-wringing for another day.

Quick hitters:

  • O.J. Howard is a man and should not be able to out run the entire LSU secondary
  • Landon Collins showed his effectiveness in run support but was a bit of liability in coverage.
  • Good on you, Tana Patrick. I was happy to see you make the play of your career in such a critical moment.
  • Kevin Norwood should be renamed the Tiger Killer.
  • AJ was off on his deep throws and Saban mentioned he strained his rotator cuff against UT and didn't attempt a deep ball in practice till this past Thursday. I really wish he didn't look for the bomb EVERY time on play action pass. In the 3rd he over threw Cooper (I believe) but had Bell wide open coming across the middle. It just seems like the deep ball is becoming far too consistent..
  • On that note, I hate when we pass on first down. When it doesn't work (and it wasn't last night), we always run on 2nd which subsequently sets us up for a long 3rd down conversion attempt..
  • A'Shawn Robinson is a man but the entire d-line played a fantastic 2nd half after struggling to control the line of scrimmage in the 1st half.
  • I have no clue why targeting wasn't called on the late hit on Norwood. If that's not targeting, what the ::bleep:: is?
  • LSU fans saying Les should go may need to get their heads checked this week. He made a great hire in Cameron and you're in the middle of rebuilding the defense..A little perspective might be needed for that fan base.
  • Can we go ahead and say that was the best set of second half adjustments made by the Saban coaching staff since he's been at 'Bama? Absolutely fantastic.
  • The fake punt really took the air out of LSU and they never seemed to recover after that. I love that even AJ didn't know the fake was coming. Shows Saban is far craftier than we give him credit for.
  • LOL at LSU fans yelling 9-6 as the Bama fans exited BDS. Y'all are now the new Auburn.