Alabama Crimson Tide vs LSU Tigers Preview

Top-ranked Alabama is soaring toward the College Football Playoff and seeks its 21st consecutive victory when it visits No. 13 LSU on Saturday (Enter Contest). The Crimson Tide are also atop the first CFP poll of the season but will have to overcome the loss of senior star safety Eddie Jackson (broken leg) down the stretch. The team has scored a stunning 12 non-offensive touchdowns (nine on defense, three on punt returns) during its dominating campaign but is certainly wary of the Tigers, who are 3-0 since interim coach Ed Orgeron replaced Les Miles. It’s something that Nick Saban’s made clear his squad won’t be overlooking this weekend.

ABOUT ALABAMA (8-0, 5-0 SEC)

Jackson has scored three of the Crimson Tide’s 12 non-offensive touchdowns. Losing his 23.0 average on punt returns will cost the squad some of the field-position advantages it has enjoyed. The defense’s other major star are still around though. Senior defensive end Jonathan Allen has six sacks to raise his career total to 24, one behind second-place Kindal Moorehead (1998-2002) on Alabama’s all-time list. The Crimson Tide have forced 16 turnovers this season with nine resulting in defensive touchdowns.

Freshman quarterback Jalen Hurts has accounted for 20 touchdowns (11 passing, nine rushing) this season. Sophomore running back Damien Harris has a team-leading 697 rushing yards and sophomore wideout Calvin Ridley has 43 receptions for 504 yards and five scores. Alabama has won the past five meetings, holding a 50-25-2 series edge.

ABOUT LSU (5-2, 3-1)

LSU junior running back Leonard Fournette is back on his game after dealing with an ankle injury earlier this season. He’s set a school record with 284 rushing yards in a victory over Ole Miss on week 8. Fournette has rushed for 670 yards and five touchdowns despite a three-game absence. He hasn’t forgotten that his 2015 Heisman hopes were squashed against the Crimson Tide when he had just 31 yards on 19 carries. The Tigers are 15-4 when Fournette rushes for 100 yards and 5-0 when he tops 200.

Sophomore Derrius Grice is also running well with 621 yards and seven scores while junior quarterback Danny Etling has thrown for 1,129 yards and seven touchdowns against three interceptions. The Tigers are allowing 15 points per game, which ranks fifth nationally. Thanks in large part to sophomore outside linebacker Arden Key (team-high eight sacks) and senior middle linebacker Kendell Beckwith (team-leading 69 tackles) who are enjoying solid campaigns.

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Texas A&M (6-0) vs Alabama (7-0)

Even the tougher opponents are finding it hard to compete with top-ranked Alabama, which looks for its 12th straight victory over ranked programs when it hosts No. 6 Texas A&M in Saturday’s SEC showdown (Enter Games of the Week Contests). The Crimson Tide are looking for their 20th consecutive overall win and are coming off a complete dismantling of then-No. 11 Tennessee as they delivered a 49-10 shellacking. Alabama has scored an amazing 11 non-offensive touchdowns (eight on defense, three on punt returns). Unbeaten Texas A&M is Alabama’s lone remaining challenger in the SEC West.

ABOUT TEXAS A&M

The Aggies lead the SEC in total offense (532.8 yards per game) and rushing offense (274.3) and will be trying to penetrate an Alabama unit that leads the nation in rushing defense (69.2) and allows just 2.2 yards per carry. Standout freshman running back Trayveon Williams (SEC-leading 704 rushing yards, five touchdowns) has been superb with an 8.6 average per carry while senior quarterback Travis Knight has been effective as both a runner (502 yards, nine scores) and a passer (1,500 yards, nine touchdowns). Junior defensive end Myles Garrett (28 career sacks, team-leading four this season) is getting closer to full strength from an ankle injury and senior strong safety Justin Evans leads Texas A&M with 48 tackles and three interceptions. Aggies sophomore WR Christian Kirk leads the SEC with 40 receptions but is averaging just 8.8 yards per catch.

ABOUT ALABAMA

Freshman quarterback Jalen Hurts has become a big-time star and has accounted for 17 touchdowns (nine passing, eight rushing) while passing for 1,385 yards and rushing for 428. Sophomore running back Damien Harris (572 yards) averages an impressive 8.3 yards per carry while sophomore wideout Calvin Ridley has 39 receptions for 477 yards and four touchdowns. Senior defensive end Jonathan Allen has five sacks to raise his career total to 23, two behind second-place Kindal Moorehead (1998-2002) on the Crimson Tide’s all-time list while senior safety Eddie Jackson has a superb 25.8 punt-return average and has scored three total touchdowns (two on punt returns, one on an interception).

Alabama holds a 6-2 series edge after posting a 41-23 road victory last season. The Crimson Tide had three interception-return touchdowns in last year’s win over Texas A&M. Two of them came from now-sophomore cornerback Minkah Fitzpatrick and the other one came from Jackson.

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