Alabama vs. LSU Tigers: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

facebooktwitterreddit

Alabama survived Death Valley on Saturday night, edging out the LSU Tigers in a defensive slugfest that went into overtime. Alabama overcame numerous mistakes and made huge plays down the stretch to keep playoff hopes alive.

The Tide were punched in the mouth by a young and physical emerging team over and over, and though they stumbled a few times the Tide never fell and in the end was the last team standing.

The Good

After a sluggish start Blake Sims and the Alabama offense got clicking in the second quarter and took control of the game after a few big drives. Sims led Alabama on a beautiful scoring drive at the end of the first half, hitting Amari Cooper on a big touchdown pass that put Alabama in the lead.

After pretty much stalling out the remainder of the game, with just 50 seconds left Blake Sims drove Alabama down the field and set up the Tide for the game-tying field goal. Sims then threw a 24-yard pass to Brandon Greene down to the one.

Sims threw the eventual game-winning pass to DeAndrew White, who had dropped multiple passes during the game, to give Alabama the lead for good in overtime. Sims got his signature win, and did so in a tough environment.

The Tide defense was put into bad situations numerous times, none worse than TJ Yeldon’s fumble deep in Alabama territory late in the game. With the game on the line and their backs against the wall, the Tide defense refused to allow LSU to get into the end zone. Forcing a field goal gave Sims the chance to tie the game and was huge. The Tide defense then stuffed LSU in overtime and won the game.

Cornerback Cyrus Jones got beat on a scoring pass in the first quarter though he was in perfect position. Jones was solid the rest of the way, making several big plays down the stretch, including defending scoring pass attempts in overtime on back-to-back plays. Eddie Jackson also had a big game, knocking away a deep pass attempt with a beautiful pass deflection and an interception that set up a field goal in the second quarter.

Reggie Ragland was huge in the middle of the Alabama defense, stepping up and playing the run with aggression and strength. Though LSU running back Leonard Fournette had a few big plays, he was also the target of wicked hits by the likes of Ragland, as well as Landon Collins and a massive hit from Reuben Foster on a kickoff return at the end of regulation that really seemed to set the tone for overtime.

Despite dropping several passes during the game DeAndrew White made possibly the catch of his career with the game-winner in overtime. OJ Howard also made several big catches on the final drive in regulation.

Alabama’s perseverance in this game must be commended. This game was much like the 2012 game, in which AJ McCarron led Alabama on a similar drive at the end of the game. Even Adam Griffith, who started the game with a horrible miss, bounced back and made a 27-yard field goal at the end of regulation to send the game into overtime.

The Bad

The inconsistencies from this talented team once again reared its ugly head and almost cost the Tide the game.

Leon Brown had costly penalties in the game, including a personal foul at the end of Brandon Greene’s catch in overtime.

TJ Yeldon’s fumble late in the game looked like it was going to be a back breaker, but the defense bailed him out. Maybe even worse than the fumble is that Yeldon seemed to reinjure his knee on the play.

Even Amari Cooper was inconsistent on the day. He started very cold and then got burning hot in the second quarter before almost disappearing for the remainder of the game, including dropping a sure first down on Alabama’s game-tying drive.

OJ Howard continues to struggle mightily in run blocking, which hurts his ability to stay on the field in run situations. It is something that hurts the offense as a whole because if he was able to stay in the game in those big jumbo packages, it would give Alabama a huge weapon on play-action passes. Thankfully Jalston Fowler was able to pick up the slack and take Howard’s spot a lot in the second half in those big package situations.

Alabama’s running game was not near good enough. Alabama averaged just over three yards per carry and wasn’t able to break off any runs over 18 yards the entire game. The running game will once again be a huge part of the equation when No. 1 ranked Mississippi State comes to town next week, as well as Auburn in three weeks.

J.K. Scott, who has been possibly the most consistent part of the entire team, was far from that against LSU. Despite having a 60+ yard punt at one point, he also had several shanked punts during the game.

The Ugly

Mistakes were killer against LSU and almost cost Alabama the game, especially Yeldon’s fumble late in the game. Dropped passes, penalties, blown assignments, missed blocks, and miscommunication were some of the things that plagued Alabama against LSU and continue to plague the Tide all season. It is what beat Alabama against Ole Miss and is something that has to be corrected if a playoff berth is to be expected.

Final Stats

PASSING
Blake Sims: 20-45, 209 yards, 2 TD; 5 carries, 12 yards

RUSHING
TJ Yeldon: 15 carries, 68 yards; 1 catch, 5 yards
Derrick Henry: 8 carries, 24 yards
Jalston Fowler: 1 carry, 2 yards

RECEIVING
Amari Cooper: 8 catches, 83 yards, 1 TD
Christion Jones: 3 catches, 38 yards
DeAndrew White: 3 catches, 36 yards, 1 TD
Brandon Greene: 1 catch, 24 yards
OJ Howard: 3 catches, 21 yards
ArDarius Stewart: 1 catch, 2 yards

DEFENSE
Jarran Reed: 15 tackles, 1.0 tackle for loss
Reggie Ragland: 13 tackles, 1.0 tackle for loss
Trey DePriest: 9 tackles
Brnadon Ivory: 8 tackles
Nick Perry: 8 tackles
Landon Collins: 7 tackles
A’Shawn Robinson: 7 tackles
Eddie Jackson: 5 tackles, 1 INT, 18 yards, 1 pass breakup
Geno Smith: 4 tackles
Dalvin Tomlinson: 3 tackles, 2.0 tackle for loss
Darren Lake: 3 tackles
Cole Mazza: 3 tackles
Reuben Foster: 2 tackles
Jonathan Allen: 2 tackles, 1.0 tackle for loss, 1.0 sack
Xzavier Dickson: 2 tackles, 0.5 tackle for loss, 0.5 sack
Ryan Anderson: 2 tackles
Jarrick Williams: 2 tackles, 1 pass breakup
DJ Pettway: 2 tackles, 0.5 tackle for loss, 0.5 sack, 1 quarterback hurry
Dillon Lee: 2 tackles
Denzel Devall: 2 tackles, 1 quarterback hurry
Jabriel Washington: 1 tackle
Cyrus Jones: 1 tackle, 1 pass breakup
Maurice Smith: 1 tackle

SPECIAL TEAMS
Adam Griffith: 2/3 FGs, 2/2 XPs
JK Scott: 9 punts, 48.6 yards per punt, long: 66 yards
Christion Jones: 3 kickoff returns, 83 yards