Bama bashes LSU in top 5 matchup

Alabama wins SEC West

By CODY ESTREMERA, For The Eagle
Posted 11/4/18

BATON ROUGE, La. — No. 1 Alabama faced its toughest test of the season when it traveled to No. 3 LSU, but the Crimson Tide aced the test, defeating the Tigers 29-0, which is the largest margin of victory by either team since 2002.

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Bama bashes LSU in top 5 matchup

Alabama wins SEC West

Posted

BATON ROUGE, La. — No. 1 Alabama faced its toughest test of the season when it traveled to No. 3 LSU, but the Crimson Tide aced the test, defeating the Tigers 29-0, which is the largest margin of victory by either team since 2002.

Alabama’s game plan to start was simple — attack through the air. The LSU defense, which had allowed an average of 199.8 yards a game through the air, allowed 120 yards in the first quarter and 200 yards by halftime.

Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa threw a career high 41 passes, completing 59.5 percent of his passes. He threw for 295 yards and a pair of touchdowns, giving him 27 passing touchdowns this season.

He also added a 44-yard scramble for a touchdown, which is his new career high in a single rushing attempt.

LSU’s defense did manage to stop Alabama on the opening drive of the game, which is the first time the Crimson Tide failed to score a touchdown to open a game for the first time this season. Tagovailoa also threw his first interception of the season. He threw 26 touchdowns before throwing the interception this season, which is the second most since Louisiana Tech’s Colby Cameron threw 27 in 2012. Alabama’s running game was just as strong as the passing game. The Crimson Tide used five players to rush for 281 yards. Senior running back Damien Harris led the team with 107 yards and a score.

The Crimson Tide finished the game the way coach Nick Saban likes to — running the ball. It ran 13 plays in the fourth quarter, 12 of which came on the ground. On those 12 running plays, Alabama covered 81 yards and used 8:38 of game time.

“I thought the drive that we went down on the field and scored on the last one was really how you’re supposed to finish a game on offense,” Saban said. “That’s the way you need to do it to finish the game when you have a lead.”

The Alabama defense controlled LSU’s offense, especially its offensive line.

The Tigers ran for just 12 yards, which is the first time since 2001 that LSU was held to less than 30 yards.

Alabama held it to negative one rushing yard by halftime.

The defensive line accounted for 16 of the team’s 59 tackles, led by defensive tackle Quinnen Williams.

The redshirt sophomore, who had 1.5 sacks coming into the game, finished with a team-high 2.5 sacks and 10 tackles.

“It’s no surprise to me,” center Ross Pierschbacher said. “I’ve got to block Quinnen Williams every single day. I get pretty frustrated at practice. I’m just like ‘I can’t freaking block this guy. What do I need to do?’ Coach Key kind of calms me down. If we can block these guys, we can block anyone in the country. This is a big game for them (defensive line), just a statement game for us.”

The shutout was the first for Alabama this season and the first SEC shutout since it defeated Vanderbilt 59-0.

“It was very important (to finish the shutout),” safety Deionte Thompson said. “We did not want to let them in the end zone. We just kept depending on each other.”

The Crimson Tide left Death Valley virtually unscathed. Henry Ruggs, who went out late in the second quarter, most likely has a bruise, Najee Harris sprained his ankle. Saban said neither are severe.

With the win, Alabama wins the SEC West.

Georgia won the SEC East earlier on Saturday.

Alabama will remain home for the rest of the season. The Crimson Tide takes on Mississippi State for its next game on Saturday Nov. 10.