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Initial Impressions from the LSU Game

Jalen Milroe’s breakout on the ground arrived just in time.

NCAA Football: Louisiana State at Alabama Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports

Coming into the LSU game, it was pretty well assumed that an Alabama win would require a complete game from the offense for the first time in several weeks. Fortunately, the Tide got just that as they took down the Bayou Bengals 42-28.

This was far from Jalen Milroe’s best game as a passer. For whatever reason, he was a little off on his signature deep ball and made a couple of questionable decisions that could have led to turnovers. To his credit, Jalen looked more decisive in using his legs than he has all season. The results: 155 yards on 20 carries and four touchdowns. Had he run that way all season, he would be on the Heisman short list right now. Who knows? Maybe he will be yet. In any case, he was every bit the weapon that Alabama fans had hoped he’d be coming into the year. May that continue.

Alabama’s offensive line flat out dominated in this one. LSU’s defense is banged up and wasn’t good to begin with, so we’ll see if it continues going forward, but any time you run for 288 yards in a game, things are going well. Jaeden Roberts and Tyler Booker showed out in particular, as Alabama found all kinds of room to run between the tackles in the second half of the game. Isaiah Bond, Jermaine Burton and Kendrick Law all made some plays in the passing game but it wasn’t terribly high volume. Alabama found that it could run all over LSU, and was content to do so.

Defensively, Alabama was torched just like every other team that LSU has played this season. The Bayou Bengals managed 8.2 yards per play on the evening and Jayden Daniels mostly did whatever he wanted. This game served as further proof that elite offenses simply aren’t going to be shut down in the college game. Give the Alabama defense credit for closing the game out, though. People will point to Jayden Daniels getting knocked out of the game as a turning point, but Alabama had seized a 14 point lead by then with a forced punt and a turnover.

Saban spoke during the week about Kendrick Law having an expanded role in the offense. He was seen lining up in the backfield on several occasions. He, Jam Miller and Jase McClellan all made critical plays catching the ball out of the backfield. This isn’t an area where Alabama has excelled this season, so that was good to see.

Will Reichard had an uncharacteristically bad game this week. Hopefully that will just turn out to be a hiccup. Will has certainly earned the trust of Alabama fans. Law looked good retuning kicks, and on the couple of occasions that LSU was forced to punt, Kool Aid made his fair catches without incident.

Injuries are a concern after this one. Two starters on defense, safety Jaylen Key and MLB Deontae Lawson, went down: Key with a quad, Lawson with an ankle. Kentucky may not be a juggernaut but they are tough and will be playing at home next week. They dispatched Mississippi State on the road 24-3 yesterday, so Alabama will need to bring its A game.

We will have an opportunity in that one to see how much of the offensive explosion last night was improvement and how much was simply playing against an utterly putrid defense. Alabama is now firmly in the SEC West driver’s seat and very much alive for the College Football Playoff. Hopefully this was a confidence builder and we’ll see the offense assert itself in similar fashion going forward.

Roll Tide.