In the two weeks before No. 4 Alabama hosted No. 2 LSU, the storyline centered around that paradox. Leonard Fournette, the nation’s leading rusher, was the unstoppable force, and Alabama’s front seven the immovable object.
Turns out Fournette can be stopped. He carried the ball 19 times for 31 yards and a touchdown on Saturday.
Alabama had seven tackles for loss in the 30-16 drumming of the Tigers. Overall, the Crimson Tide had 42 tackles. LSU ran a total of 45 plays.
“It was just a team effort of us doing our job, dominating our box, and it really helped us get off blocks for our linebackers to come up, make those plays and stuff,” defensive lineman A’Shawn Robinson said.
Robinson finished with three solo tackles, including two for loss. He had a pass breakup and blocked an extra point, where he box jumped over the line and managed to jump up again to bat down the ball. He also featured as a lead blocker on Derrick Henry’s second touchdown run.
Fournette put up 79 yards rushing on the Crimson Tide last year in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He was never brought down for a loss on any of his 21 carries.
Conversely, he gained a total of 43 yards Saturday but lost 12 in the face of Alabama’s defense. The Crimson Tide kept LSU to 54 yards rushing and 2.1 yards per rush.
For its part, the offense stayed on the field. Alabama had possession for nearly 40 minutes of the game.
The Tigers’ passing game accounted for 128 yards and a touchdown. Brandon Harris entered Saturday’s matchup not having thrown an interception in seven games. On the first play of the second half, Harris threw an interception to senior linebacker Dillon Lee.
Alabama coach Nick Saban said he told the defense during halftime it needed to get a stop to re-establish the tempo since LSU got the ball first.
“Better than a stop is getting a turnover,” Saban said. “I think that was a heck of a play by Dillon Lee, and it was huge in the game. That may be the turning point in the game in terms of us when the game is 13-10, we go down and score and it makes it 20-10, so it changed the game a little bit.”
As if Saturday’s game needed any more drama, Ole Miss lost to Arkansas in overtime, meaning the winner of the Alabama-LSU game would take control of the SEC West.
But Alabama still has two more SEC games. First up is No. 20 Mississippi State and quarterback Dak Prescott in Starkville, Mississippi. Prescott has thrown only one interception and 18 touchdown passes. He has completed a career-best 66.7 percent of his attempts for 2,351 yards.
“Mississippi State has a really good team,” Saban said. “I think the goal every week is to go 1-0. I mean, it’s as simple as that, and you can’t think beyond that. I think that every team that we play in the SEC West can beat us if we don’t play well, and I think our players understand that, so [you] prepare properly in practice and get ready for the game so you can go on the road. It’s a tough place to play over there. Their quarterback’s a great player, so it’s going to be a real challenge for us.”
Alabama (8-1, 5-1 SEC) will play Mississippi State (7-2, 3-2 SEC) in Starkville on Saturday at 2:30 p.m. on CBS.
Source:: The Crimson White Sports