Upon Further Review: No. 1 Alabama at No. 3 LSU

The final word on Alabama's 29-0 victory at Death Valley to lock up the SEC Western Division title

The University of Alabama football team has 11 players from the state of Louisiana.

Here’s how the ones who participated in Saturday’s 29-0 victory at LSU did on Saturday night.

Kicker Joseph Bulovas: Made 23-yard field goal, was 2-for-4 on PAT (one blocked, one bad hold, averaged 59.5 yards on kickoffs with one touchback and one out-of-bounds

Defensive lineman Isaiah Buggs: Two tackles including .5 for a loss, one sack, one pass broken up

Defensive back Shyheim Carter: Five tackles, one pass broken up

Defensive lineman Phidarian Mathis: One tackle

Linebacker Dylan Moses: Six tackles including .5 for a loss.

Wide receiver DeVonta Smith: Did not have a reception

Tight end Irv Smith Jr.: Four catches for 64 yards and one touchdown

Also, former LSU player Saivion Smith: Six tackles and two passes broken up. More on him in a bit.

Play of the game: Sophomore quarterback Tua Tagovailoa’s 44-yard run for a touchdown sent a lot of LSU fans off into the night as it gave Alabama a 22-0 lead midway through the third quarter. It’s the longest run of his career.

Player of the game: Sophomore nose tackle Quinnen Williams had a career high in tackles (10) and sacks (2.5) and matched his career high in tackles for loss (3.5).

Statistic of the game: The Alabama defense has not given up a touchdown in its last 11 quarters of play, and one overtime, at Tiger Stadium. The streak dates back to 2014 and is up to 165 minutes and seven seconds of playing time, during which the Crimson Tide has a scoring edge of 59-6.

Five things we learned about Alabama

1] The defense is for real: When Nick Saban uses the word “complete,” it means he’s really happy with the victory. Alabama’s defense gave up just 12 rushing yards, and is now ranked 11thnationally in run defense. From weeks 2-6 the Crimson Tide yielded 790 rushing yards, an average of 158 per game and 4.79 per play. The last three games it’s only allowed 113 total, or 37.7 per game and 1.26 per play.

2] Special-teams issues: If there was one disappointing area it was special teams with two failed extra-point attempts. On the first the ball slipped out of holder Mac Jones’ hands, and the other was low and blocked. “He's kicked off pretty well for us this year,” Saban said. ”He's just been a little inconsistent at times on the field goal stuff and most of it is when he's trying to over kick the ball." Joseph Bulovas is 9-for-13 in field-goal attempts.

3] The new offensive wrinkle: Alabama had run the shovel pass earlier this season, but only once with Tagovailoa as quarterback, the 57-yard touchdown by sophomore wide receiver Henry Ruggs III against Texas A&M. Coaches had been saving it since then and ran it three times. The first was the botched play for an 8-yard loss, but it worked for a 17-yard gain by running back Josh Jacobs. It’s just something else upcoming opponents have to worry about, especially since probably none of them have comparable speed/talent to LSU in the secondary.

4]Third-and-toast: Alabama converted 8 of 14 third-down opportunities, but the ones that really hurt LSU were the four the Crimson Tide got when facing third-and-8 or more. Tagovailoa’s 44-yard touchdown run was on third down and received the most attention, but an NFL scout at the game called the 16-yard screen pass to junior tight end Irv Smith Jr. just four plays previous on third-and-15 “a killer.”

5]The bigger the game …Saban notched career win No. 22 against teams ranked in the top five of the AP Top 25. It’s the most in college football history, and he has a winning percentage of .647 in those games. Overall, he has 79 wins against ranked opponents, seven shy of Joe Paterno’s record of 86.

10 things you may not have noticed

1] Alabama never ran to the right, meaning beyond the guard, until its final possession of the game.

2] Opponents have yet to return a punt against Alabama this season.

3] Even with his early 8-yard setback, sophomore wide receiver Jerry Jeudy still topped 100 receiving yards for the third time in four games. He’s still averaging 22.6 yards per catch, which ranks third in the nation.

4] For those of you claiming that LSU linebacker Devin White didn’t make much of a difference in the second half, he still made eight tackles and prevented Alabama from making bigger gains. He also made the tackle when sophomore running back Najee Harris hurt his ankle.

5] Alabama averaged 7.6 yards running the ball. LSU averaged 0.5.

6] Alabama’s known to sort of circle the wagons for big games. The game statisticians credited the Crimson Tide with playing only using 48 players, a season low.

7] Freshman cornerback Patrick Surtain II was thrown at seven times with three completions, one of which was under the coverage. Saivion Smith, who LSU was clearly trying to target, had seven balls thrown his way with the longest gain for just 8 yards.

8] LSU did a good job of limiting yards after the catch, with the Crimson Tide having a season-low average of 6.12. Alabama still had an unofficial total of 153.

9] With junior linebacker Mack Wilson’s interception, Alabama has forced at least one turnover in 51 of its last 53 games, dating back to the start of the 2015 season. During that span it’s had 90 turnovers and returned 21 for touchdowns.

10] LSU has been shut out just six times since 1996, five by Alabama and three under Saban. All five were in the state of Louisiana. If the game looked a little familiar in terms of style, LSU only crossed the 50-yard line once during the 2011 national championship game, a 21-0 Crimson Tide victory in New Orleans.

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Joey Blackwell
Joey Blackwell

Editor

Since everyone has been promoting this past weekend as “Statement Saturday”, I feel like it is only appropriate that the Tide made quite a statement this past weekend. If there were any doubters remaining concerning the Tide’s performance this season due to strength of schedule, I feel that they had their doubts put to rest this past Saturday night in Death Valley.