Alabama’s defense didn’t have to wait long to introduce itself to LSU quarterback Danny Etling.
Linebackers Tim Williams and Ryan Anderson were the first to say hello when they sacked Etling on LSU’s third play. On the next drive senior, Jonathan Allen and linebacker Rashaan Evans greeted the LSU quarterback on back-to-back plays.
“It felt good [to get those sacks],” Allen said. “We knew that those sacks were going to affect the way they called their plays, the timing of some of their patterns, so that was probably the biggest thing for us.”
When the Crimson Tide defense filed back into the locker room with a 10-0 victory over the Tigers, six defenders had personally introduced themselves to Etling.
Not to be rude, the defense also caught up with LSU running back Leonard Fournette, who finished the game with 35 rushing yards on 17 carries.
“We’ve got some pretty hateful guys that play defense around here that are pretty good competitors,” Alabama coach Nick Saban said. “So when they get challenged a little bit, they usually respond and I thought they responded well tonight.”
Quarterback Jalen Hurts turned the ball over on Alabama’s side of the field twice in the game, but the Crimson Tide defense went to bat for him both times. LSU combined to lose eight yards on those two drives, and the Tigers only field goal attempt of the game was blocked by Ronnie Harrison.
When Etling didn’t find himself hitting the turf with the football in his hands, he managed to complete 11-of-24 passes for 92 yards and an interception against Alabama’s reworked secondary that saw Minkah Fitzpatrick replace Eddie Jackson as the safety while Tony Brown took on the star role in Alabama’s nickel defense.
Saban said he thought both players did well in their new roles.
“It was helpful to us that we had a bye week that we could do a little more work with them,” Saban said.
As well as the defense did there was one thing it failed to do. For the first time since last year’s win over Michigan State in the College Football Playoff, the Crimson Tide didn’t score a non-offensive touchdown.
“I think I could have had one at the end of the second half, and I just knocked the ball down, but sometimes even though we did what we was supposed we wanted to do a little bit more so next week we’ll try,” Fitzpatrick said.
At the end of the game, Saban said there’s not much more he could have asked of his defense. Those players also seemed pleased with their performance unlike other times this season.
“This is the reason I came to Alabama, LSU-Alabama,” Allen said. “It feels good just to be a part of the rich history and long history of the rivalry.”
Source:: The Crimson White Sports