Coming out of the bye week, No. 8 Alabama still has all of their season goals intact.
The Crimson Tide’s first major goal is winning the SEC West and securing a spot in the SEC Championship Game. A win over No. 14 LSU (6-2, 4-1 SEC) on Saturday would almost guarantee No. 8 Alabama (7-1, 5-0 SEC) would be SEC West champions.
Following their 32-31 loss in overtime to the Tigers last season, the Crimson Tide will be looking for revenge in this Saturday's game at 6:45 p.m. CT in Bryant-Denny Stadium.
Here are a few things to watch this Saturday as Alabama and LSU battle for the SEC West.
Contain Jayden Daniels
Nobody is playing better football than Jayden Daniels right now. If LSU didn’t have two losses, he would be the Heisman front-runner. Daniels is the embodiment of a dual-threat quarterback, making plays with both his arm and his legs. So far this season, Daniels leads the SEC in passing with over 2,500 yards, along with 521 rushing yards, putting him eighth in the conference. Nobody has been able to stop him this year, but there is some good news for the Crimson Tide: Florida State, the only above-average defense LSU has faced this year, contained Daniels, resulting in a win over LSU.
Alabama will by far be the best defense Daniels and LSU have faced this season and will need to contain Daniels if they want to come out of this game with a victory.
Get the Run Game Going
LSU’s biggest weakness is their defense. The run defense is actually better than the pass defense, but attacking LSU on the ground will be key. Alabama needs to get the ground game going early and often in hopes of limiting the possessions of the high-powered LSU offense.
Establishing the run will not only help Alabama control the clock but also open up the play-action deep pass, Jalen Milroe’s most dangerous weapon.
Looking for Revenge
Nick Saban would tell you that this is just another game against two very competitive teams, but it is more than that. The Alabama players are out for revenge after last year’s overtime loss to LSU knocked them out of the SEC Championship Game as well as the College Football Playoffs. This year, the stakes are the same, and Alabama will be looking for redemption.
Will Kendrick Law Be Utilized More in the Offense?
On the second play of the second half against Tennessee, Kendrick Law took a pop pass from Jalen Milroe on an end around and exploded for 38 yards. This play not only showed the speed and power of Law but maybe a look at how Alabama’s offense can evolve to get play-makers the ball in space. So far this season, offensive coordinator Tommy Rees has called very few screen and pop passes. Running a few more of these types of plays could also help alleviate some of the stress and take some pressure off of the struggling offensive line.
Limit Penalties and Turnovers
Alabama has done a better job in recent weeks limiting the penalties and turnovers. Milroe has been much better at his decision-making and protecting the football. The offensive line, especially in front of a home crowd, has cleaned up some of the pre-snap penalties as well. In a game where every possession will matter, Alabama can not afford to turn the ball over or get called for penalties that neglect touchdowns.
Alabama will look to all but lock up the SEC West title Saturday at 6:45 p.m. CT inside Bryant-Denny Stadium.
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