No. 1 Alabama Wins With Stifling Defense over No. 15 LSU, 10-0
In a defensive battle that was worthy of what has become one of college football's great rivalries, the No. 1-ranked University of Alabama football team scored all of its points in the fourth quarter to take a 10-0 win over the 15th-ranked LSU Tigers in Tiger Stadium. The win improves Alabama to 9-0 overall and 6-0 in the Southeastern Conference while LSU falls to 5-3 overall, 3-2 in the SEC.
Linebacker Reuben Foster led Alabama with 11 tackles, including two solo stops. Marlon Humphrey had six solo stops and eight overall. Foster, Dalvin Tomlinson, Ryan Anderson, Tim Williams, Jonathan Allen and Rashaan Evan were all in on the Tide’s five sacks on a night that also saw the Crimson Tide tally nine tackles for loss. Alabama also limited LSU to six first downs on the night and 125 total yards.
Alabama freshman quarterback Jalen Hurts scored his 10th rushing touchdown of the season and 22nd overall in the fourth quarter, while completing 10-of-19 passes for 107 yards with one interception. He also tallied a team-high 114 yards and a touchdown on 20-rushing attempts. Wide receiver ArDarius Stewart hauled in three catches for a team-best 55 receiving yards. Punter JK Scott had a big night, averaging 51.6 yards on five punts with a season long of 66 yards.
After rushing for a school-record 284 yards in his last outing, LSU running back Leonard Fournette was held to just 35 yards on 17 attempts Saturday night. The Tiger’s Danny Etling was 11-of-24 with one interception and 92 yards on the night. DJ Chark led LSU’s receiving corps with 45 yards on three catches.
Alabama’s opening drive ended with LSU’s Jamal Adams picking off Hurts on third down, giving the Tigers the ball on the Alabama 33-yard line. LSU could not move the ball forward before attempting a 49-yard field goal which was deflected wide right by Ronnie Harrison.
Alabama went three-and-out on its next possession. LSU earned the initial first down of the game when quarterback Danny Etling hit wide receiver DJ Chark for a 41-yard reception on third down, moving the ball to the Alabama 43. The Tide then moved the ball back to midfield when Ronnie Harrison and Reuben Foster stopped Tigers running back Leonard Fournette five yards behind the line of scrimmage on first down followed by back-to-back sacks on Etling by Jonathan Allen and Rashaan Evans, respectively, forcing a punt.
Alabama and LSU traded three-and-outs on the next two possessions, before Alabama made its first extended drive of the night. Alabama started the drive on its two-yard line, with running back Josh Jacobs gaining a yard on first down before being swarmed. Following an incomplete pass on second down, running back Damien Harris burst 13 yards to the Tide 14 for Alabama’s initial first down of the game. Harris rushed again for no gain before Hurts hit receiver Trevon Diggs for nine yards to the UA 23. Jacobs picked up another Tide first down with a three-yard run on third down. Hurts rushed for nine total yards on back-to-back carries before Jacobs lost a yard to force fourth down as the first quarter came to an end. Scott came on for a 66-yard punt to end the drive and start the second quarter.
Hurts ended the first quarter with four completions on eight attempts, one interception and six yards. Harris led all rushers with 28 yards, including a long of 13. Etling was 3-of-5 passing for 45 yards for the Tigers.
On its first drive of the second quarter, LSU moved the ball 40 yards in 11 plays, starting with a three-yard pass from Etling to wide receiver Malachi Dupre. LSU then rushed five consecutive times, including four Fournette runs totaling 17 yards, followed by an 11-yard Etling pass to Dupre. Moore then ran for four yards before Etling threw incomplete on first down, followed by a three yards rush by Fournette to the UA 45-yard line. A three-yard Etling to Chark pass play brought out the LSU punting unit.
Starting on its own nine-yard line, Alabama ran four times, moving the ball 46 yards to the UA 44 with Hurts rushing twice for 29 yards and Bo Scarbrough running twice for a total of 17 yards. Hurts then hit wide receiver Calvin Ridley for a 21-yard reception to the LSU 24. Three consecutive incomplete passes brought on Adam Griffith for a field goal attempt from 42 yards out, which missed wide left.
LSU started the next drive on its own 24, and rushed five times for 15 yards before an incomplete pass brought up fourth down at the LSU 39 and the punting squad. Another punt by LSU's Josh Growden pinned Alabama at its own five-yard line. The Tide moved the ball nine yards on two rushes by Harris for five yards and a four-yard rush by Hurts, but couldn’t pick up the first down.
With the half winding down, LSU and Etling took a shot at the end zone from the Alabama 42 with eight seconds remaining that was knocked away by the Tide's Minkah Fitzpatrick. With one second left on the clock in the half, Hurts turned around and passed out of bounds from the UA 42, bringing the half to a 0-0 finish.
Alabama’s average starting field position in the first half was its own 17-yard line. Hurts was 5-of-13 with one interception for 27 yards. He also led the Tide in rushing with 42 yards. Calvin Ridley led Alabama with 21 receiving yards, all on one catch. For LSU, Etling was 7-of-13 passing with 64 yards in the first half while Fournette led the Tigers with 21 rushing yards. Chark led all receivers with 43 yards.
After LSU started the second half by going three-and-out, Alabama moved the ball 52 yards on its first play from scrimmage on a long pass from Hurts to Stewart. That set up the Tide on LSU's eight-yard line. Two rushes by Harris and one by Hurts put Alabama fourth-and-goal on the LSU one-yard line. A rush by Hurts on fourth down lost five yards and turned the ball over.
From its own six-yard line, LSU moved the ball nine yards before punting. The two teams then traded punts on three-and-outs before Hurts was sacked on second down of the quarter’s sixth drive. Hurts fumbled the ball on the play, turning it over to LSU on the UA 42. LSU gained seven yards on the first two plays of its next drive after Arden Key’s fumble recovery before Etling was sacked for an 11-yard loss by Tomlinson at the LSU 49, forcing another Tigers punt.
Again starting deep in its own territory, this time on its 10-yard line, Alabama went to work as time wound down in the third quarter. Jacobs lost five yards to the UA 5 before Hurts hit tight end Miller Forristall for a 22-yard pass to the UA 27 and a first down. Scarbrough rushed for eight yards to the UA 35. Following a five-yard penalty on Alabama, the Tide picked up a first down with a two-yard rush. Hurts then rushed for 12 yards to the LSU 41 before Harris picked up four more and Scarbrough bulled for three more to the LSU 37. Hurts threw to Ridley for two yards to close the quarter.
At the end of three quarters, Hurts was 9-of-17 with one interception for 106 yards. Stewart led Alabama’s receivers with 53 yards on two catches while Hurts was the leading rusher with 44 yards on 11 attempts. For LSU, Etling was 9-of-18 for 77 yards. Fournette had 35 yards on 17 rushes and Chark had 45 yards on two catches.
Alabama opened the final stanza with a first down at the LSU 32-yard line. Scarbrough rushed for 11 yards on three attempts to get the ball to the LSU 21. On third down, Hurts weaved 21 yards for the end zone, breaking the scoreless tie and putting Alabama up, 7-0, after Griffith’s point after try was good.
After Griffith sent the ball into the end zone for a touchback on the ensuing kickoff, LSU set up on the UA 35 with 13 minutes left on the game clock. On the first play of the drive, Fitzpatrick intercepted Etling's fluttering pass on the Tide 43-yard line. Etling was pressured by Anderson as he threw, with Anderson's hit affecting the pass.
After the interception, Alabama marched the ball to the LSU seven-yard line on a drive that consumed a whopping 9:51 of game time. The 15-play, 50-yard march concluded when Griffith nailed a field goal from 25 yards out, giving Alabama a 10-0 lead with 2:41 left in the game. Alabama rushed 12 times on the 15-play drive with Hurts picking up 47 yards on seven rushes, including runs of 23 and 11 yards.
LSU went three-and-out on its final possession and Alabama ran out the clock on the final drive of the game.