As you may have seen, we broke down the positional match-ups for the second version of the “Game of the Century” earlier this week. DrWhosOnFirst talked about the Alabama receiving corps vs the LSU defensive backs and I spent some time with the Alabama offensive line vs the LSU defensive front. Both of those are filled with each individual match-up and also who to look out for/who is a starter, etc. With that being said, lets jump into the statistical and analytical side.
Credit to Zane Murfitt with our SBNation Analytics crew for these awesome graphics.
The Alabama offense ranks #4 in success rate. The LSU defense ranks #11 in success rate. One thing that jumps out to me is the Alabama offense pass success rate vs the LSU defense pass success rate. The Tide comes in at #4 in the country in this and LSU ranks #30 in this. Whether it’s Tua Tagovailoa or Mac Jones out there, expect a number of quick slants, receiver screens, and RB dump offs to keep the chains moving against a somewhat soft underneath defense for the Tigers.
Though the LSU defense isn’t too far behind Alabama’s offense in success rates on first and second down, Alabama has a very significant edge on 3rd downs. Again, keep those chains moving, and give the four dynamic receivers even more chances to bust a huge touchdown.
One thing that sticks out to me on the more disappointing side of things is the rushing explosive rate: LSU ranks #3 in that and the tide offense comes in at #67. Najee Harris and Brian Robinson have been extremely efficient this season, but both are yet to break any huge runs. Don’t expect that to change in this game.
Both teams in this game have elite offenses and defenses that are good enough. Alabama has a solid pass defense and struggles more at stopping the run. LSU has a solid rush defense and struggles more at defending the pass. Alabama’s high-powered offense will score as they always do using the receivers and, more than likely, Tua Tagovailoa’s arm.
It will be interesting to see the match-up of Alabama’s improving rushing game and LSU’s solid rush defense. I think that the rushing attack of Alabama’s offense is going to surprise some people this week with Najee Harris getting more carries than we typically see— and he’ll churn out over 100 yards.
I say this nearly every week but the Alabama receiving corps is probably not going to get slowed down much this year and I don’t think this game is any different. That kind of speed just has a way of making things happen. I also think Alabama will come into this game feeling a bit disrespected and the offense will put up a decent amount of points. I doubt Alabama will put up their average of 48.6 points per game, but I think they will get close.
Let’s call it 41 points. 5 touchdowns and 2 field goals with a couple points left on the field because of missed field goals.